Dear Friends,

These are strange times. We find ourselves at home, with more questions than answers and more worry than usual. As a family we talk daily, and we wonder at what the world will look like when this is all over. We wonder what the consequences of prolonged physical distancing will have on the vibrant landscape of our communities, cities and economies. We wonder at how it is not through our innate need to be together that we will solve this, yet it is through the power of staying apart that we will. We wonder, most of all, how we can make a difference. How, when this issue is so huge, and so overwhelming, can we possibly even help? 


We are amazed daily by the dedication and selflessness of the healthcare workers who are on the frontline. We are grateful for the grocery store workers, the sanitation workers, the delivery people, now deemed essential, who have always been vital. We are inspired by the people and companies who have converted their industries and their energies into production of necessary materials. Like our partners, Buffalo Trace, who saw an immediate need and began producing hand sanitizer for our hardest hit medical communities. We watch with awe as our friends and fellow businesses shift their focus and their efforts to relief funds, as designers make face masks and as everyday people pitch in and support and uplift their communities. Over the years, we have been fortunate to meet the people along the way – the bartenders, distributors, restaurateurs and chefs, farmers and makers – who on paper are the supply chain that keeps our businesses rolling, but who in life are our friends and partners. We know that the impact of a disruption in any part of this chain causes a disruption to us all.


We have long been proud that Chef Edward Lee chose to leave his mark on our hometown of Louisville, KY. Proud of his influence on the culinary renaissance of Downtown Louisville, where we find our offices nestled in a revitalized food scene that has rightfully earned its place on all of the lists. The restaurants that have proven to be inventive, soulful and so full of generosity and life. The restaurants who have welcomed our family, our bourbon and our business into their kitchens, bars and, most importantly, to a place at the table as friends. From the start of this crisis, Chef Lee, The LEE Initiative, and Makers Mark, jumped in, creating the Restaurant Workers Relief Program. This incredible campaign is now operating in 19 cities where specific restaurants have been designated as relief kitchens. Where out of work or furloughed restaurant workers are offered food, supplies and support. Where each night, hundreds of meals are lovingly prepared and sent home with the people who need them. Where we can all help. 


As a family, along with our family run businesses, Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery and Pappy & Company, we are honored to join in support of The LEE Initiative Restaurant Workers Relief Program. We are humbled to hapve played a small role in filling the needs of those in the service industry. Through Pappy & Company, we designated 100% of proceeds of sales of our special edition barrel head and select t-shirts to benefit the LEE Initiative’s Restaurant Worker Relief Program. We encourage you to learn more about this work as well as the incredible efforts being made in your own cities and we encourage you to support the small businesses, restaurants and workers who are so vital to the landscape of our communities. 


That although celebrations may look different right now, and they may very well be happening across a screen instead of across a table  – celebrations of life, of birthdays, anniversaries and milestones are not canceled. So raise a glass, because we raise a glass to you. We toast you and we look forward to the day we can gather again. 

Until then, 

Julian, Sissy, Preston, Carrie, Louise, Chenault and all of us at Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery and Pappy & Company