July 31, 2020

EH Taylor Donation

Today marks the completion of a journey roughly eight months in the making. From the time we announced the DBC's EH Taylor pick at the Third Annual Christmas Party, to today; the Taylor Barrel campaign has been one hell of a ride.


Nearly a year ago, we handed a $10,000 check to the NICU at UT Southwestern. The money we raised went to helping the healthcare providers for some of the most vulnerable people in our society: sick children. The money we raised with that barrel went to training equipment for doctors and nurses to better care for little babies during some of the hardest moments of their, and their parents lives. Quick shout out to Walker and his family, as their new baby girl left the NICU and is finally headed home.

The money and the efforts behind it, no doubt positively impacted people around our community. For someone who has put a lot of time into this organization, the Blanton's campaign represented a successful proof of concept: we really can do some great things. It also represented a promise fulfilled: The Dallas Bourbon Club does what they say they will, and truly wants to do some good around the community: it's not always all about the bourbon. It's also at that moment that our club began to hit its stride. We grew up a lot that day.

So when Brian handed me an envelope at last year's Christmas Party that said our next barrel selection was going to be an EH Taylor Single Barrel Bourbon, I knew we really had something here. Our partners at Buffalo Trace/Sazerac really understood what we were doing. They trusted us enough with a Blanton's and now; they were handing us the keys to a pretty spectacular kingdom. EH Taylor is certainly delicious and has an incredible pedigree, but they were seriously giving us a medallion'd EH Taylor bottle. I could not believe it at all. And the news absolutely lit the room ablaze: the Dallas Bourbon Club was riding a major wave that night. Later in the evening Brian pulled me aside and said: "We have to double the Blanton's donation with this." The gamut had been thrown: $20,000 was the goal for this new campaign.

Fast forward to January 2020. It was a pretty cold day in Frankfurt that day in late July. Having been to Buffalo Trace for a pick previously, I had super high hopes for this day. My sky high expectations were absolutely shattered: a VIP tour with Freddy Johnson, tasting Taylor straight out of the barrel, getting to taste uncut Eagle Rare, the list goes on and on. But we were there for a purpose: Pick a barrel of Taylor that is going to some serious good for our community and we left Kentucky that night with a fantastic whiskey picked out.

While we waited for our Taylor to arrive and for the group to get to work raising money, a little thing called the coronavirus showed up. Things got bad, then they got worse, then the shut down came. Every single facet of American life was disrupted while we stayed at home. At first, things were a little fun: toilet paper becoming as allocated than Buffalo Trace, and all night Tiger King binges. But as the days turned into weeks, things continued to deteriorate. People started losing their jobs and it was clear that our community was in crisis.

The leadership team received a lot of great charity idea submission for this barrel, but it just seemed tone deaf to focus our efforts elsewhere while the largest disruption since WWII had hit our community. So it was decided: We needed to help local families during this novel viral outbreak and the best charity to contribute to was the North Texas Food Bank. I remember walking into my local Tom Thumb when the idea hit me. I immediately called Daniel Palos. It was actually the first time I made a phone call with a face mask on. After reaching out to the NTFB and hearing that they are seeing the highest demand from local families in decades and that the National Guard was helping to distribute to North Texas Families: it was even more obvious. We had to chose the North Texas Food Bank. They needed our help.

When the barrel finally arrived, the Dallas Bourbon Club worked like a well oiled machine. We had members volunteer to help out and make sure the drop went smoothly. We had new members eager to roll up their sleeves and plan things for the group. There were members buying a bottle to use to raise money for a charity of their own, outside of the NTFB. We had an elaborate network of bourbon transport going so everyone got one of the coveted Taylor bottles. In a first ever move: we put a couple bottles up on local secondary sites and truly super charged the donation efforts. It was truly incredibly. We nearly cleared the entire barrel in a weekend and by the end of week three; it was all accounted for.

So when all the bottles had been moved, and all the money had been counted. We had done it. Mission Accomplished. Well, sort of. Except we didn't just double the Blanton's donation, we tripled it. That's right, we tripled it.

The Dallas Bourbon Club EH Taylor Single Barrel raised $30,000 for the North Texas Foodbank.

Thirty. Thousand. Dollars. From a single barrel. Absolutely incredible. Even more incredible is the charitable impact that our donation will provide. Every $1 donated can provide three meals. This means that our donation is going to provide 90,000 meals to North Texas Families in crisis. 90,000 meals is a huge number: just try and put a face to those meals: hungry children, mom's & dad's who can't find jobs, senior citizens: all North Texas people who need help. The Dallas Bourbon Club was able to provide that help in a truly difficult time.

To put this into more perspective, Palos, who is at the NTFB Mobile pantry Volunteer Distribution, texted me that 45 cars were in line for food donations an hour before distribution started. 45 cars lined up at 8 AM. There is a lot of need here in North Texas for these kinds of services. We are helping families through an incredibly difficult time with our financial resources and by donating our time to help. This is doing some real, tangible good. These are real people that are going to directly benefit from our charitable efforts. It's absolutely amazing to me.

And so in closing, I'd like to raise a glass to ALL of you. The Dallas Bourbon Club continues to soar to new heights. Each year, we grow in members and in accomplishments. In a year where we can't get together as a group, I feel like the bonds between our members have grown even stronger. It's been a weird year to say the least, but using the DBC as a community has kept me smiling. I am so proud of everyone and everything that we've been able to accomplish. Today, we can kick the boots up and enjoy our success and how far we've become. It's been an amazing ride so far, and I can't wait to see where we go from here.

There are a lot of thank you's in order and there's plenty of people that I will inevitably miss. However, just know that your contributions played a part in our biggest charity donation to date.

  • Mark, we could not have done it without our partnership. The DBC isn't the DBC without our partnership with Lakewood Medallion. Thank you for all that you do for us month after month.
  • Buffalo Trace. You are an unbelievable partner. You've put a lot of faith into us over the years and we have been able to do some amazing things together. I can't wait to see what the future holds
  • Daniel Palos. Protecting our 501(c)3 is huge and your input will go a long way to making sure these donations are done the right way. I know you're a tax accountant by day, so thank you for putting your expertise to our cause. In addition, your efforts to get these marketed on the local secondary markets got our donations over the top. And it doesn't stop there, you helped to push the volunteer hours and made sure we didn't just cut a check and step away.
  • Marcus Sepasnki. You were integral in collecting funds, organizing payments. It's an ugly job, but we aren't able to cut these types of checks to charity without your diligent efforts.
  • Katelyn Canaan was our point of contact over at the NTFB and she was fantastic to deal with. Between volunteer requests, coordinating logos and messaging, as well as getting us an opportunity to come by; she was nothing short of fantastic to deal with.
  • Phil Lamb. Organizing a group lunch was a great idea to help build some community with the members. It lead to one great time and one outstanding photo.
  • Neil Ylanan. Thank you for your time, efforts and creativity on the mini Taylor's. While they may have been small, those helped raise some big cash and they sure looked good thanks to you. I'm not sure that a regular old unmarked sample bottle would have captured the dollars that those little birdies got.
  • The Boots on the ground at Lakewood. You guys did amazing making sure the drop day went as smooth as possible. We were able to keep the riff raff out and get the bottles to all the right people.

And of course, thank YOU to all of our members. It's probably not the best time in the world to go out and buy a $170 bottle of whiskey, but you did it anyway. Your dedication to this organization and doing some good around the community got us to $30,000. This group absolutely amazes me and continues to do so year in and year out. Today is all about a huge accomplishment for not just a few people in the group, but for all the people in the group. I am so proud of each and every single one of you.

In closing, I just want to reiterate how proud I am of this group. We've grown in size, but we've been able to stick to our core mission of enjoying great whiskey with great people while doing some wonderful things around the community. We've never lost sight of our main focus: how this delicious and American liquid is the bond between all of us. Not every organization can say that they've been able to keep the main thing, the main thing as they scale up. We are certainly the exception in this regard.

Pour something great tonight and kick back and relax. We've accomplished something pretty amazing. We've got a lot to be proud of today.