Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc., the nation’s largest independently owned and operated distilled spirits producer and the world’s second largest holders of aging bourbon, announced a new project to raise funds for The ALS Association in honor of Heaven Hill master distiller Parker Beam, who was recently diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Called “Master Distillers’ Unity” the project will create a never-before-seen blending of bourbon from all the major Kentucky heritage distilleries in a special crystal two bottle set, which will be offered at the Bonham’s Whisky, Cognac and Rare Spirits auction in New York City on Oct. 13. All proceeds from the auction of this one-time bottling will go toward the Parker Beam Promise of Hope Fund (alsa.org/
Never before have all the major Kentucky Bourbon Distilleries—Heaven Hill, Buffalo Trace, Four Roses, Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Wild Turkey and Woodford Reserve—united to marry their products together. Since announcing that Lifetime Achievement Award Winner and Bourbon Hall of Fame charter member Parker Beam was afflicted with ALS back in February, Heaven Hill has begun a series of initiatives to raise money for the Parker Beam Promise of Hope Fund, and the Master Distillers’ Unity charity bottling is only one example of that effort.
Master Distillers’ Unity is comprised of barrel-proof, extra aged Bourbons hand selected by master distillers Harlen Wheatley (Buffalo Trace), Jim Rutledge (Four Roses), Fred Noe (Jim Beam), Greg Davis (Maker’s Mark), Jimmy Russell (Wild Turkey) and Chris Morris (Woodford Reserve), carefully married together with select Heaven Hill Bourbon. The blend was developed and approved by Parker Beam himself. The end result will be put into two 750ml crystal decanters with silver closures, concealed inside a specially made silk lined wooden box hand signed by all the participating Master Distillers, and bottled unprocessed and unfiltered at 100 proof. A two bottle set will be offered—one to drink, should the winning bidder so choose, and one to keep.
Conceived as a way to demonstrate the industry’s united support against ALS and for 54 year veteran Parker Beam, Master Distillers’ Unity represents a coming together not only of the major Bourbon distilleries, but also partners like Saxco Industries, Walsen International and Promotional Wood Products, who have donated the high-end packaging materials; and Bonham’s 1793 Auction House, who has agreed to waive all commissions on the Master Distillers’ Unity offering.
Aside from the charity auction winner, the only consumers lucky enough to taste this one-of-a-kind Bourbon will be attendees at a special tribute to Parker Beam during Whisky Advocate magazine’s WhiskyFest New York on Saturday, Oct. 12—the day before the Bonham’s auction event. At the WhiskyFest tribute, an additional 10 750ml bottles of the Master Distillers’ Unity will be poured out for ticket holders, other master distillers and industry figures in a toast to Parker Beam and his half century of accomplishments at Heaven Hill.
One final component of Heaven Hill’s fundraising initiatives for The ALS Association and the Parker Beam Promise of Hope Fund, and perhaps the most financially impactful, will be this fall’s edition of Parker’s Heritage Collection, Heaven Hill’s seventh release of this annual ultra-premium limited edition series. Though the specific details of the Fall 2013 Parker’s Heritage Collection will be released separately, Heaven Hill has already announced that for every bottle of the upcoming seventh edition, the company will donate $20 to the ALS Association Parker Beam Promise of Hope Fund, a move which will raise at least $250,000.
“Parker Beam’s impact on Heaven Hill Distilleries, as well as the Bourbon industry in general, is beyond estimation,” noted Heaven Hill President Max L. Shapira. “We have already begun a number of different projects within the company to raise money for ALS research and care, including the upcoming Fall edition of Parker’s Heritage Collection, but the Master Distillers’ Unity initiative is perhaps the best single example of how our competing distilleries can come together for one of our own and join forces for a greater good. We are proud to have spearheaded this effort and proud of how our industry can collaborate for a great cause”