Meet the ABV Network Team: Katie Garrett

by Colonel Steve Akley


While I might not be cool myself (see my daughter Cat if you want the full rundown as to why I am embarrassingly "uncool"), I do have some cool friends. At the top of the heap on the "coolness meter" is definitely Katie Garrett.

"How cool?" you might ask.

Jimi Hendrix cool.


That kinda puts it into perspective, right?

I mean not only is Jimi Hendrix the greatest guitar player of all-time, there was just something special about that guy. The way he dressed, the way he carried himself, the way he would answer questions in interviews. These aren't things you could teach someone... Jimi just had "it."

What is "it?" you are probably thinking. 

"It," in this example, is that "X-factor" that is the difference between you-and-I, and those people who have that little something special. While I might not have "it," I can recognize "it" in others and Katie Garrett definitely has that coolness quotient.

Let's look at some of the facts here. In the ABV Network world, Katie is a co-host of the Bourbon Bettys and occasional fill-in on our other shows (she has appeared on both The Bourbon Daily and The Bourbon Show as a co-host in the past). Katie brings knowledge, enthusiasm and preparedness to the shows she's on. On the Bettys, she does an education segment that not only provides valuable insight that everyone can draw from on their respective bourbon journey, she ties it back to the topic of the show. I'm always amazed at her pre-show prep when we go to record.

Involvement in the ABV Network is only a tiny part of Katie's story. She owns one of the top whiskey bars in the U.S. in her place, Old Hickory Whiskey Bar in Pensacola (  Old Hickory isn't any old whiskey bar. It's got a huge selection of whiskey, but it goes way beyond that. She invests in her people. She sends her bartenders to events like Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans an the Kentucky Bourbon Affair. Katie is often bouncing back-and-forth between Florida and Kentucky to increase her bourbon education and do barrel picks for Old Hickory. She recently acquired a second bar which will focus on cocktails. She is literally building an empire... not because she's lucky or living off of a trust fund... it's because she works hard and is committed to doing everything the best way she possibly can.

Did I mention she just turned 31?

Um, yeah, Katie has accomplished all of this at an age when most of us are still trying to figure out what we want to do when we grow up.

So how did Katie and I become friends?

Well, it all circles back to the teachings of someone Katie and I both respect very much and that's Freddie Johnson of Buffalo Trace. Freddie says, "bourbon brings people together" and that's the story of Katie and I. We simply were followers of one-another on Instagram (I have no idea which of us found the other first). I noticed we both liked each other's content, and I saw she was the owner of a bar so I invited her on to play Who Wants to be a Bourbon Millionaire with Renee and I. The three of us really hit it off and Renee and I knew we had to get Katie more involved in the network.

When Renee started working on Bourbon Bettys she put together the dream team of Katie and Barbara Hirsch to really make a fantastic show. The chemistry of those three together... besties from the moment they met is amazing. 

I'm pleased to say that I've now met Katie a few times and she is exactly what you hear on the shows. She's smart, funny, engaging, stylish and humble. I mean I don't actually understand how she can be all of those things at the exact same time, but that truly is Katie. Then again, she's cool, I'm not... but my coolness factor is on the upswing with a friend like her.