EP 46: The CEO Who Convinced Bob Dylan to Pick a New Name

Marc Bushala | CEO of Heaven's Door Spirits

Marc Bushala, CEO of Heaven’s Door Spirits, talks about the ease and challenges of starting a brand with a highly-coveted celebrity endorsement.

Heaven's Door founder Marc Bushala

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Episode Summary

Marc Bushala knew he wanted to partner with Bob Dylan as soon as he read that The Bard had registered a trademark for a whiskey brand.

His motivations were both personal and opportunistic: Bushala, like any sane person, is a fan of Dylan’s music, so partnering seemed like a dream come true. But Marc also had relevant experience, having already launched and sold a wildly successful spirits brand. The veteran executive also couldn’t ignore that Dylan was, in his opinion, leaning on the wrong “working name” for his nascent whiskey brand.

So Bushala reached out, talked his way into partnership with the Nobel Prize winner, and influenced the evolution of Bootleg Whiskey to Heaven’s Door—which is now an award-winning whiskey-label that’s been praised in Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Esquire, and myriad other press.

Listen to this episode to learn more about how Bushala connected with Dylan, the advice he offered that ultimately shaped the brand, and the moment he realized that his investors could recover nearly all of their money even if the venture failed.

About Marc Bushala, CEO of Heaven’s Door Spirits

Marc Bushala is a serial entrepreneur with extensive experience in creating and building businesses throughout the United States and Europe in the marketing services, real estate, food and beverage, media and entertainment sectors. From launching two music television channels in Eastern Europe with Sir Bob Geldof to owning/operating F&B and special event venues to launching successful spirits brands and more, Marc has a 30-year track record of cultivating dynamic businesses.

About Heaven’s Door Spirits

Heaven’s Door Spirits is a collaboration between legendary artist Bob Dylan and Spirits Investment Partnership. The group brings together a leading roster of beverage, music, and distiller professionals who are passionate about new whiskey expressions that encapsulate the essence of an irrepressible American artist. Heaven’s Door Spirits is Bob Dylan’s first and only consumer brand partnership in his 50 years as a worldwide cultural icon. The collaboration represents a true interplay of art, craft, and commerce.

Heaven’s Door Spirits is a portfolio company of Purple Arch Ventures, a venture capital fund for Northwestern-connected alumni.


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