Baltimore native and Morgan State University alum Rodney Dotson learned perseverance from his maternal grandmother who ran a daycare out of her home. Even though she did not have a car she always made sure that both her business and her home were well taken care of.
Dotson remembered her drive when he had to persevere through disappointment when his music group “Nuance” did not attain the success they had hoped for.
He attended Morgan State University from 1996 to 1998 and left to pursue his music career with the group, which included his best friend William Jennings III. When it didn’t work out, he returned to Morgan and pursued a degree in business. He graduated in 2011.
“It’s not when you start, it’s when you finish,” Dotson said with pride recalling how his education, perseverance and desire to create a legacy led to the creation of Rams and Parrots, a Black and Brown owned whiskey brand based in Baltimore.
In 2016, Rodney, Will and another childhood friend Reginald Jones, were inspired to start a business that would create a legacy and honor their roots. All three were raised by single mothers and grew up in inner city Baltimore, and all three were determined to create a brand with integrity that would bring people together.
They did their research and decided to increase the representation of Black and Brown whiskey brand owners. They chose the name for the strength of the ram and intelligence of the parrot, which incidentally were also their middle and high school mascots— Roland Park Middle Rams and Baltimore Polytechnic Parrots.
Many of their best memories were centered, around family, good food and good drinks. Specifically, Rodney’s paternal grandmother’s North Carolina corn whiskey creation, fondly known as, “Dot Dot’s punch,” being served at family reunions and get togethers.
The late Dorothy Dotson was a head bartender at the famous Hilltop Inn. With this in mind, they partnered with Jonathan Ortiz, a master distiller, and created their own bourbon recipe, which he says has “a sweet corn taste [and] packs a punch, but goes down smooth.”
The founders of Rams and Parrots want their whiskey to be the centerpiece of moments and memories, because that is how a legacy and connection is built with a brand. Rodney encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to trust the process and understand that the journey is a marathon and not a sprint. He says, “you can’t succumb to what people think of you, you can’t give up.”
His positive attitude and resilience brought him through disappointment, and ultimately led him to collaborate with friends to build a legacy.
Rams and Parrots is available for sale at Security Liquors located at 6628 Security Blvd. 21207. For more information about Rams and Parrots, visit the website: www.ramsandparrots.com.