This summer, Garrison Brothers Distillery had intended to release its newest bourbon — its oldest to date — with great fanfare. Laguna Madre is an eight-year-old whiskey expected to be as coveted, if not more so, as other limited Garrison offerings.
But the Texas Hill Country bourbon maker decided to change up the debut of Laguna Madre, named for the "beautiful blue waters along Texas’ Gulf Coast," when the coronavirus pandemic began to sweep across the country, according to a news release. Founder Dan Garrison had an idea: that people who want a bottle of the new bourbon must donate to an organization devoted to disaster response to get one.
He’s betting on both fans’ generosity and on how much they’ll want Laguna Madre in their liquor cabinet, because the required donation amount is what you might call hefty. The first 2,004 people to contribute $1,000 or more to Garrison’s Good Bourbon for a Good Cause charity will receive a bottle, according to the release. At that amount, donors will also receive a couple other Garrison treats: a bottle of Boot Flask and a bottle of HoneyDew, a honey-infused bourbon.
Good Bourbon for a Good Cause, which has raised money in the past for other efforts including restoration of Balmorhea State Park, intends to raise more than $2 million for veteran-led disaster response organization Team Rubicon. Team Rubicon’s current focus is on deploying teams to areas heavily affected by the pandemic.
So far, Garrison Brothers’ nonprofit has raised $18,777 in the past 24 hours for the initiative dubbed Operation Crush Covid-19. Bottles of Laguna Madre are expected to go fast.
Good whiskey can be a powerful motivator, after all, and there are just over 2,000 bottles of the eight-year-old bourbon available. The oldest aged of Garrison’s offerings, Laguna Madre spent four years in new white American oak barrels before getting extra-matured in Limousin oak from France, "prized for its vanilla content," according to the news release. The specialty French oak "imparts the whiskey with distinct flavors of vanilla, sweet candy, cacao, and thick, white chocolate."
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"This generous donation will help us continue to prepare, respond and aid community recovery efforts across the country," Team Rubicon co-founder and CEO Jake Wood said in the release.
Good Bourbon for a Good Cause is also researching to find a worthy nonprofit that delivers funding to the decimated hospitality and service industry, workers of which have been laid off en masse in the past couple of weeks as the pandemic has forced widespread closures of bars and restaurants. Your dollars may go to the eventually chosen organization as well.
Don’t have $1,000 to spare? That’s OK, too, as Garrison Brothers encourages people to give what they can in return for other sweet items. Donating $100 will allow you to snag any Garrison Brothers clothing item in the gift shop free of charge. And $500 will reserve a bottle of Boot Flask and HoneyDew in your name.
If you donate the full $1,000, the entire package of whiskeys awaiting you — including the Laguna Madre — will be ready in August.
For more information, visit garrisonbros.com/operation-crush-covid-19.