Given that we’ve now approaching the traditional time to make New Year’s resolutions, I’m excited to announce the launch of a new column we’ll be regularly running called Drinking for a Cause, which will showcase spirits brands that give back in some charitable manner.
And to kick off the series, I can’t think of a better liquor than the 100-proof Warrior Whiskey. It’s sold by the Steamboat Whiskey Company, which is run by two Navy veterans, Albert Rayle and Nathan Newhall. Newhall, who is the master distiller and founder, is a former Navy Seal who spent 18 years in the service and is now in the Navy reserves.
The company, which is located right in the middle of the famous Colorado ski town, is just four months old. The founders spent the last few years planning the company and learning as much as they could about the liquor business. Warrior Whiskey is a blend of a Tennessee rye whiskey and a Colorado bourbon, which has been aged in an old Caribbean rum cask. And the best part is that a percentage of its sales will go to fund charities that support veterans. So far, through the sale of the whiskey and events, the company has raised $14,000 in four months that was donated to a couple of different organization, including the Navy Seals Foundation. “It’s a blend for a cause,” explains Rayle. “Being veterans we wanted to give back.”
Rayle and Newhall are ramping up their own distilling—making everything from moonshine to a distilled mead spirit—and will soon have products for sale that were exclusively produced at their facility from local ingredients. But even after those spirits are available, they’ll continue to blend and bottle Warrior Whiskey. The hope is that one day it will be available across the country and also at every military base around the country. But Rayle is realistic about the company’s future given that they’ve just started up and he cites the old military mantra to me, “crawl, walk, run.”
Right now, Warrior Whiskey is available around Steamboat Springs and at the Steamboat Whiskey Company’s own pub, which features a glass window that looks into the adjacent distillery. The facility is just a few minutes’ drive from the ski slope. I can think of a more perfect spot for an après-ski drink.