Duke & Dame began as an idea exchanged between two friends at a bar in South Florida and evolved into a vision to redefine the whiskey drinking experience. As the popularity of American whiskey continued to grow, founders Amani Macaulay and Chima Burey felt there was something missing in the segment – specifically, a whiskey that offered amazing flavor without sacrificing the quality and complexity typically associated with premium whiskeys. Out of this vision, the award-winning Duke & Dame Salted Caramel Flavored Whiskey (with 1g of sugar per serving) was born. It stimulates the senses at each stage of the drinking process, with incredible aroma, remarkable taste, and an extremely smooth finish.
Duke & Dame has been recognized by esteemed industry experts and discerning consumers as one of the best flavored whiskeys on earth. Read more HERE 🥃
This Black Business Month we are continuing our support by spotlighting other black-owned brands. In our exclusive Q & A, you will get to know the D&D Palm Beach Trendsetters, more about their brand and their vision for the future.
🥃 FOUNDERS STORY
Amani Macaulay and Chima Burey are two friends that worked in the corporate finance world and decided to pursue their passion of creating a whiskey for everyone. Based in Miami, their fast-growing, independent Black-owned business is celebrating its fourth year and continuing to expand its footprint in the South Florida market with its debut of a new display campaign with Total Wine in Palm Beach County, Fort Lauderdale and Miami.
🥃 TELL US ABOUT YOURSELVES (What you do for fun, what keeps you relaxed, etc.)
"When I’m not working, I try to stay in shape by working out at the gym or with my boxing trainer. I enjoy live music and comedy, sports, and catching up on the few shows I watch. I’m also a very amateur drummer, and try to find time to play on the drums when I can. And there is nothing more fun than enjoying good food and good drinks with good people."
"I enjoy staying active, that often includes spending time with family, traveling and playing or watching sports."-Chima
🥃 WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF YOUR BUSINESS/BRAND NAME?
The name Duke & Dame captures the emotional connection that consumers have with the whiskey. When consumers drink Duke & Dame, they don’t cringe or make the “whiskey face.” Rather, they are pleasantly surprised that a whiskey is making them smile, making them feel amazing, magnificent, royal and regal. The honorific titles of “Duke” and “Dame” represent these feelings.
Additionally, the representation of a man and woman signifies that Duke & Dame is a whiskey for everyone — women, men, young, old, whiskey lovers and whiskey newcomers. And given the increasing prevalence of women whiskey drinkers, we are proud to be one of the first whiskey brands to include women in its branding.
🥃 TELL US ABOUT THE IMPACT OF BEING BLACK-OWNED IN SOUTH FLORIDA
We can’t help but feel some responsibility to do well, and represent well, as one of the few black-owned spirit brands in the industry. We know that demonstrating that we can succeed can help open doors for other black spirit entrepreneurs. Also, just being present and visible in the market can provide future entrepreneurs who look like us an example to follow, and the confidence that they too can build a successful business in South Florida.
🥃 WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
We launched Duke & Dame in South Florida 4 years ago, and since then we have expanded to Michigan and New York, select Caribbean Islands, and Carnival Cruise Line ships. In the future, we plan to increase distribution to all 50 states and to other international markets. We want all consumers to have the opportunity to experience our awarding-winning flavored whiskey wherever they are. We also plan to expand the product portfolio to include additional flavor expressions and other alcoholic beverage offerings.
Duke & Dame appeals to both whiskey lovers and those that are new to the whiskey world. Delightful balance between taste and aroma of salted caramel with a bold but smooth finish. This Whiskey can be enjoyed neat or on the rocks. Made in Florida with B&M Spirits, it is a rich, caramel, butterscotch, vanilla, balanced whiskey. Perfect to enjoy for any occasion, stock in your home bar or to give as a luxe gift.
🥃 WHAT WILL BE YOUR LEGACY?
We want to be remembered as the guys who disrupted the flavored whiskey category and redefined the flavored whiskey drinking experience for consumer. Consumers no longer have to give up quality, balance, and complexity just because they want a little flavor in their whiskey. And with Duke & Dame they now have a whiskey that puts a smile on their faces every time they experience it.
🥃 WHAT HAVE BEEN YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGES & LESSONS LEARNED?
When I left my career in finance, I was looking for a new challenge — the challenge of learning something new and building something great. If you’re looking for a challenge, developing, launching and growing a spirits brand in a regulated industry will not disappoint. The biggest challenge has been not knowing all of the intricacies of the industry and business. There is no manual. You can speak to other brand owners, industry participants, etc., but ultimately you have to learn as you go. And sometimes you learn things that you wish you had known a year earlier.- Amani
Managing the growth of the brand and wearing all the hats necessary to be successful in the beverage space. The biggest lesson has been that you can’t be everywhere at all times and also being mindful to create a good work/life balance.- Chima
🥃 SHARE SOME OF THE HAPPIEST MOMENTS WITH DUKE & DAME SO FAR
We’ve had some great successes with the business, but my happiest moments still come from our interactions with consumers, whether at liquor stores, bars, or events. Seeing the happy faces of consumers tasting Duke & Dame for the first time never gets old. Watching consumers who previously “hated” whiskey fall in love with Duke & Dame right in front of you is such a special feeling. And I love hearing about the interesting ways consumers are enjoying Duke & Dame at home. All of these experiences serve as a constant reminder that we are doing something right.- Amani
It has been seeing the growth of Duke & Dame internationally and how widely accepted our brand has become.-Chima
🥃 WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE ENTREPRENUERS?
Confidence in your ideas and abilities is great (and necessary). But don’t be so confident that you avoid testing your ideas, plans and assumptions with folks who have done it before. Be open to being challenged – it will help you to develop a stronger plan and increase your chances for success.
Also, poor cash flow is one of the primary reasons that small business fail. So, make sure that you understand the cash needs of your business and that you have sufficient cash to keep you afloat. Additionally, have a plan in place for how you might address funding needs in the future. -Amani
Don’t be afraid to dream big! Create a plan, do your research by talking with those in your industry and most importantly, understand how you are going to fund the growth of your business.-Chima
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