Heritage Distilling Company of Gig Harbor, Washington, announced the launch of its Special Operations Salute (SOS) series. This super-premium whiskey collection is dedicated to honoring, celebrating and raising funds for organizations supporting the U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) members, veterans, first responders and their families. The first whiskey in the Series, the Army SOF edition, launched Nov. 1 through online pre-sales, selling out the first 2,500 bottles and generating $25,000 for partnering nonprofit organizations in less than three weeks. The next release of 7,500 bottles is available now for pre-orders and will ship via direct-to-consumer delivery across 34 states beginning in late December. At 105 proof, the “Howitzer Strength” whiskey retails for $125, with a portion of proceeds from each unit’s sale dedicated to nonprofit organizations that support SOF warriors, veterans, first responders and their families.
What started as a limited fundraising bottling run initiated through a collaboration with the 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Joint Base Lewis-McChord seven years ago has now evolved into a nationwide initiative. The SOS series will feature several editions released in rapid succession, each dedicated to Special Operations units within a branch of service and first responders, including Army SOF, Naval Special Warfare, Air Force Special Operations and more.
“For nearly a decade we have demonstrated Heritage Distilling’s support for our military heroes and their families through our 1st Special Forces whiskey edition, raising nearly $150,000 for Special Forces-related charities local to Joint Base Lewis-McChord,” said Drew Kellerman, a Heritage Distilling co-founder and former Airborne and Ranger-qualified Army Infantry officer. “Since the program’s inception, we’ve been approached by other groups interested in our offering, and we are finally in a position to expand our mission in a scalable and more impactful way. Special Operations Salute is dedicated to the operators on the ground, those who have served in the past, and the family members of those who have sacrificed all so that we can enjoy the freedoms that make America a unique symbol in the world.”
“The generous support we receive from the Special Operations Salute Whiskey special edition by Heritage Distilling Co. extends far beyond financial assistance to the Green Beret Foundation,” said Charlie Iacono, president and CEO of the Green Beret Foundation. “It represents a profound commitment to bridging the gap between the Special Forces community and the civilian world. Through the shared experience of savoring this exceptional whiskey and listening to life stories from some of the most remarkable Americans, we are able to create bonds that span a multitude of communities. This collaboration not only honors the valor of those in special operations but also fosters a deeper understanding and connection between different walks of life, united by respect and the timeless tradition of storytelling, and the shared love of our incredible Nation.”
“As a nonprofit, the fundraising landscape can be very competitive. Partnering with Heritage Distilling Co. has allowed us to honor our mission while raising funds for causes important to our Special Forces community,” said Eric Heid with Chapter 16, Special Forces Association. “We are excited to support Heritage in expanding this project in a bigger way and we thank them for continuing to partner with us in support of our mission.”
Each SOS collection aims to garner more than $1 million in funds for qualified nonprofits. Through HDC’s program, participating organizations will be able to drive their own sales proceeds through a dedicated URL link that can be marketed to their supporters. In addition, Heritage will also contribute additional funds to select nonprofits supporting Special Operations heroes, and their families.
“The Foundation for Exceptional Warriors (The FEW) is both honored and humbled to work with Heritage Distilling Company to better serve America’s Exceptional Warriors through the sale of this Special Operations Salute line of whiskeys,” said Ronny Sweger, executive director of The FEW. “The FEW, founded and led by former Special Operations Veterans, looks forward to using the donations received from the sale of this exceptional whiskey to provide Exceptional Warriors with adventures worldwide as part of their healing journey. Patriots who buy this product will be directly supporting our efforts.”
The initial launch of the Army SOF edition is a blend of two 6-year-old bourbons and a 7-year rye whiskey, all mashed, fermented, distilled and aged in house by HDC. Future editions and releases will have their own unique mash bills.
HDC’s CEO, Justin Stiefel, said, “Through the success and learnings of our initial partnership supporting the 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), we have demonstrated our credibility in this area. We know we have the ability to do more, and because of that, we now have the responsibility to expand this effort to support these brave men and women who take on the toughest tasks and sacrifice the most for freedom-loving people everywhere.”
Heritage Distilling has also entered into a similar nonprofit partnership agreement with the Marine Raider Foundation for a future release. Additional discussions are ongoing with more national, regional and local nonprofits who have reached out to Heritage about joining in the effort to raise funds for their own organizations through this program. Non-profit groups and charities interested in participating can complete an intake form on the Special Operations Salute webpage to start the process.
Each premium bottle of the Army SOF edition comes enclosed in custom designed tubes and features a newly commissioned lithograph drawing by the world-renowned artist and veteran, Michael Solovey. Solovey’s masterpieces, with their powerful imagery, have found their place on the walls of countless military offices and homes.
For more information and to purchase the Special Operations Salute Whiskeys and Heritage’s other award-winning spirits, visit heritagedistilling.com.