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flahute

How our bourbon auction went crazy to raise money to fight cancer

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flahute

Some of you know that I'm part of a group called The Bourbon Crusaders. We started out like most bourbon groups with a desire to have fun and do private barrel picks.

Three years ago we decided to be more than just a barrel picking group and dedicated ourselves to raising money for charities once a year.

Our first event was in November of 2016 and we partnered with Jim Rutledge to celebrate his 50th year in the industry and we raised approximately $25,000 for the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation. (Jim's daughter suffers from Crohn's disease).

Last November, we partnered with Heaven Hill to pay tribute to and remember the legacy of Parker Beam and we raised $54,000 for the Promise of Hope fund to fight ALS.

 

This past Saturday, we partnered with Willet Distillery and the Kulsveen family to raise money for the American Cancer Society. It's not widely known, but earlier this year Even Kulsveen battled stage 4 Lymphoma. He's now in remission but the experience lit a spark in the family to raise money to fight cancer. Going into the event, we were hoping to top last year and raise $60,000. When the dust settled we ended up raising about $340,000. It was a truly stunning and remarkable experience.

 

Fred Minnick was our emcee and auctioneer and he wrote about the evening for Forbes. Here is the link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/fredminnick/2018/11/05/how-a-bourbon-auction-went-crazy-to-defeat-cancer/?fbclid=IwAR3ZMAAA9QxlGVoxZUsvYNskSIapHPkPIvkoCeki_o-4eMRdE1v74caF6cM#5ca65a99736f

 

One thing to note that's not in the article: the final two auction items that Fred mentions - the ones that raised the majority of the money - were not originally planned. They were heat of the moment add-ons made possible by the incredible generosity of Drew Kulsveen and the family.

For the first one, someone (who I don't know) whispered into Drew's ear with the suggestion. He then took the mic to announce it.

For the final one, it started out as a Willett experience day with Drew that included the right to select your own private barrel of Willett distilled whiskey (but you still had to pay for the bottles). We've offered this the past two years and last year it sold for $12,000. Drew then totally freestyled to modify the parameters and that's when it really exploded.

 

We are still processing what happened. I've never seen anything like it. The bourbon world as we know it may be inexplicably crazy compared to what we knew 10 years ago but at least that craziness is willing to step up with generosity and give money to good causes.

You go bourbonia!

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Paddy

A great read, for a great cause. 

 

As some of you are aware, I lost my wife to cancer 10 years ago.  A heart felt thank you from me to Steve, and The Bourbon Crusaders! 

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FasterHorses

What a great event. Way to go flahute. That is awesome! 

 

 

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lcpfratn

Steve, I read Fred’s article the other day and was blown away by the story. I meant to send you a congratulatory PM, but kept forgetting. As you get older, you start to suffer from CRS disease. Anyway, great job by you and your fellow Bourbon Crusaders! Cheers!

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GaryT

While many of us gripe about the craziness that has become bourbon, it is incredible that could be (and was!) harnessed for such a great cause!  Great job!!

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LCWoody

This is great Steve, for a very good cause.

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PaulO

Steve, This is a great story.  Well done by you and all the others involved.

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Vosgar

Certainly an event you'll never forget, Steve. Truly mind blowing!!

 

Congratulations to you and the Crusaders!

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flahute
On 11/8/2018 at 1:31 PM, Paddy said:

A great read, for a great cause. 

 

As some of you are aware, I lost my wife to cancer 10 years ago.  A heart felt thank you from me to Steve, and The Bourbon Crusaders! 

I had forgotten about that!

Very happy that our event could have a positive impact on a friend like you.

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JoeTerp

awesome job

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Bob_Loblaw

Great read and awesome job by Willet. 

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