The business journey of Eric LeGrand took another major step forward Wednesday as the beloved New Jerseyan and Rutgers legend announced the launch of his first whiskey brand, Eric LeGrand Kentucky Straight Bourbon.
LeGrand teamed up with Brian Axelrod, a veteran of the U.S. wine and spirits industry, who partnered with Conor McGregor on Proper No. Twelve.
The launch comes just under a year after LeGrand opened the doors on LeGrand Coffee House in his native Woodbridge, which NJBIZ has extensively covered.
As his rehabilitation continues from the 2010 play that led to his paralysis, LeGrand says he’s been inspired to appreciate the finer things in life, which led to the collaboration with Axelrod to create a whiskey that can be enjoyed by all.
And, the pair are committed to supporting those living with and impacted by paralysis, with a promise to donate $5.20 from every case of Eric LeGrand Bourbon sold to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, which is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by advancing innovative research and improving qualify of life for individuals and families impacted by paralysis.
“My recovery journey has mirrored that of my bourbon. Both take precision, patience, and trust in the process,” said LeGrand “Eric LeGrand Bourbon offers a way for those who are living with paralysis and those who are not impaired by it, to enjoy sipping on a quality bourbon, while coming together to support a foundation that gives back to anyone impacted by this condition.”
To date, the LeGrand team has raised close to $2 million for spinal cord research.
“We are grateful for Eric’s long partnership with the Reeve Foundation and his dedication to carrying forward Christopher Reeve’s legacy and dreams for the spinal cord injury community – a world of empty wheelchairs,” said Colleen Coppla, chief of development at the Short Hills-based Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. “With resolute commitment to his passions, Eric has become a leading entrepreneur and we’re thrilled to be able to support and benefit from his ventures. Eric LeGrand Bourbon helps to achieve Eric’s goal of getting us to the endzone – cures for spinal cord injury and paralysis – and we couldn’t be more excited to be involved.”
The bourbon is being distilled and bottled in Kentucky, in Owensboro and Bardstown, respectively, and will be distributed by Elizabeth-based Allied Beverage Group.
According to a press release, the liquid is created with quality heartland grown corn, limestone purified water, and the freshest rye and barley available. It is aged no less than two years in perfectly charred oak barrels, boasting a warm nose and smooth crisp finish.
“Teaming up with Eric to create a product that gives back to those that have been impacted by paralysis has truly been such an eye-opening business endeavor,” said co-founder Axelrod. “It feels good knowing that we have developed a high-quality bourbon that has the potential to change someone’s life.”
A launch party for Eric LeGrand Kentucky Straight Bourbon was recently held at, where else, Rutgers University in New Brunswick at the Rutgers Club.
“Thank you to everybody who came out and got a little taste or a lot of the whiskey,” LeGrand wrote on Instagram following the launch party. “We are excited to launch in New Jersey on March 1st with plenty more exciting news to come.”
The bourbon is now available to purchase 750-mililiter bottles here in the Garden State, with New York, Kentucky and other states soon to follow.
More information can be found at www.ericlegrandwhiskey.com.
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