Kentucky bourbon auction raises more than $1 million for tornado relief

Organizers said total bidding exceeded auction goals in just 48 hours.
Published: Dec. 21, 2021 at 5:11 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The Kentucky Bourbon Benefit is an online auction offering donated bottles and barrels, attracting single bids ranging from hundreds of dollars to a quarter of a million.

So far, more than $1 million dollars has been raised for tornado relief.

The benefit is the result of work by the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, Bourbon Crusaders charitable organization and Bourbon curator Fred Minnick.

“If you like bourbon and someone else likes bourbon, you don’t talk about anything else,” Minnick said. “You just talk about what’s in the glass. And bourbon brings people together. It always has. It has always brought people together in the worst moments.”

Organizers said total bidding exceeded auction goals in just 48 hours.

“Distillers kept coming at us with these incredible offerings like a 19-year-old barrel of Willett,” Kentucky Distillers’ Association President Eric Gregory said. “I mean, that’s unicorn juice, right? I mean, you don’t find that.”

With 8 hours to go on Tuesday, the last day of bidding, that barrel of Willett had topped $270,000. A barrel of extra-aged Four Roses had exceeded $215,000.

Also, contributing to the auction was the owner of Carr’s Steakhouse in Mayfield. Destroyed by the tornado, the owner dug bottles of his premium bourbon out of the rubble.

A dozen of the donated, scratched and battered offerings attracted bids of $1,000 to $10,000.

“The fact that they stepped in the way they did, not just with the bottles we donated but the entire auction, what they’re doing is incredible,” Carr’s Steakhouse owner Daniel Carr said.

The online Kentucky Bourbon Benefit ends at 10 p.m. Tuesday.

A live auction at 7 p.m. Tuesday will feature the top 15 items in the online auction and bidding will likely go higher.

A live feed of the auction can be found here.

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