In the fall of 2016, Buffalo Trace Distillery donated two hundred rare bottles of vintage-dated whiskey to non-profit organizations across the country. The results are in, and these collectable O.F.C. bottles have raised more than one million dollars for various charities across the United States.
All fundraising events were completed by early March, and a grand total of $1,196,687 was raised for causes such as cancer services, cystic fibrosis, leukemia and lymphoma, children’s rights, autism, military veterans, animal protection, arts foundations, and many more. Some of the top fund raisers were very creative in their efforts, with the top fund raiser, Hollings Cancer Center in Charleston, S.C., raising $27,000 for their 1980 bottle of O.F.C. Bourbon at its annual Gourmet and Grapes benefit. “The inspiring work being accomplished by the physicians and scientists at Hollings Cancer Center would simply not be possible without the support from this event,” said Abby Parks, director of special events for the Hollings Cancer Center.
Not far behind them as far as fundraising goes was Meals on Wheels People in Portland, Oregon, raising $24,000 through promoting its event on social media and partnering with leaders in the food industry, mainly restaurants, who then in turn promoted it to their client base. The non-profit also reached out to traditional media outlets and bourbon enthusiast bloggers, which led to several write ups about the event and an appearance on one news channel at a local bourbon hangout. “All the money raised from our event will be used to feed senior citizens. The $24,000 raised will provide approximately 3,250 meals,” said Tony Staser, chief development officer.
The Longview World of Wonders in Longview, Texas raised $17,500 with its O.F.C. Bourbon at its annual Bourbon and Bowties event. To hype the event up, the organization posted about it on social media, made videos, and did Facebook Live posts from local liquor stores. They even took the bottle out on parade to show it off at the local liquor stores on the Friday evenings and all day Saturdays leading up to the event. “We would also have the Buffalo Trace bourbon line on our table and explain the connection while trying to push your product to people around here at our local liquor stores,” said Event Chairman Cole Tomberlain. “I think the Bourbon & Bowties fundraiser is the only one that has men begging their wives to go, instead of the other way around!” added Tomberlain.
“We’re so happy these worthy causes will benefit from the release of this O.F.C. bourbon,” said Kris Comstock, bourbon marketing director. “On average, $6,100 was raised by these charities. We’re thrilled these non-profits used this opportunity to come up with creative ways to raise funds for their much needed causes.”
In September 2016, Buffalo Trace announced it was releasing a new bourbon called O.F.C. Bourbon Whiskey, but the first release was only for charities. That first release was comprised of 100 bottles from the year 1980, 50 bottles from 1982, and 50 bottles from 1983. Non-profit organizations were invited to apply for a bottle online, and after vetting by a third party organization, 200 charities were chosen and bottles were shipped out before the end of year. Each charity selected received a bottle from one of the three vintages.
The O.F.C. Bourbon was packaged in a crystal bottle with real copper lettering in-laid in the bottle with hand applied paper label. The label on the back of the bottle notes the milestones for the vintage year of the bottle. Each bottle was nestled in a wooden display box containing a provenance card with the same information found on the back label.
This is the second time Buffalo Trace Distillery has partnered with non-profit organizations to raise money. In 2011, the Distillery gave away 174 bottles of its Millennium Barrel, the last bourbon barrel filled on the last day of the last century. In total more than $150,000 was raised for various charities across the United States. This brings the total to just over $1.3 million that Buffalo Trace has helped raised for various charities.
Buffalo Trace plans to release its next offering of O.F.C. Vintages later this year for consumers to purchase at liquor stores and bars. More details on that release will be forthcoming.