For Veterans Day 2023, Iron Smoke Distilling celebrates valor and sacrifice with the release of an exclusive four-grain bourbon, Purple Heart Bourbon Whiskey. Named in honor of the Bleier family, the 90-proof special blend is a first-time, limited release being sold exclusively online. It has been hand-crafted by Purple Heart recipient and four-time Super Bowl champion Rocky Bleier, his cousin Bob Bleier who is a retired New England Patriots player, and the Iron Smoke team.
“Connecting with the Bleier boys and their mission to support our nation’s brave Purple Heart recipients was an incredible honor and there was not one bit of hesitation in partnering up,” said Tommy Brunett, ISD Co-Founder and Chief Trailblazer. “We share the same deep-seated commitment to our veterans and honoring the sacrifice of our servicemen and women, allowing every sip to carry the spirit of gratitude and utmost respect.”
A majority of the profits from the sale of this bourbon will go to the Military Order of the Purple Heart. MOPH is an organization that promotes patriotism and provides services to veterans and their families. The Bleiers support MOPH because it is dedicated to veterans who have been awarded a Purple Heart after being wounded or killed in action.
“After I left the NFL, I devoted my time to honoring the bravery and resilience of my fellow Purple Heart brothers,” declared Rocky Bleier. “I want to make sure their legacy is forever etched in the heart of our nation. So, with this bourbon, I raise my glass to their selfless service.”
Rocky Bleier was awarded a Purple Heart for injuries he sustained while serving in Vietnam in 1969. Despite bullet wounds to his left leg and severe damage to his right foot from a grenade explosion, he overcame his disabilities and returned to play football with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Rocky helped his team win four NFL championships in the 1970s and at retirement in 1980, he was the Steelers fourth all-time leading rusher.
Bob Bleier was a quarterback who played for the New England Patriots during the late 1980s. He now has a wealth management firm in Pittsford, N.Y., just a short ten miles from the Iron Smoke tasting room. He was already aware of the fine bourbons produced by Iron Smoke, which is an internationally acclaimed New York State farm distillery located in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York.
“I have always been a big fan of Iron Smoke bourbon and its support of local charities,” said Bob Bleier. “In fact, I was picking up a barrel Tommy had donated to a fundraiser for Camp Good Days and Special Times when we started talking about creating a bourbon to support Purple Heart soldiers. Rocky drove up from Pittsburgh. Tommy took us through several tastings and everything seemed to just organically come together. Quite literally, this project is near and dear to everybody’s hearts!”
The Bleiers tasted samples from seven barrels and picked their four favorites for this 45% ACL/VOL blend. The label created for the Purple Heart Bourbon bottle depicts the family’s crest replete with two hungry wolves and a horn of plenty. The words, “Prayer-Work-Thought-Decisions” decorate the banner above the Bleier family name and the autographs of both Rocky and Bob flank the crest. Each man personally signed every one of the 700 bottles produced.
“It’s all about relationships and doing the right thing. We appreciate the distinct steps Iron Smoke takes to craft top-notch whiskeys,” said Rocky Bleier. “What impressed me is that the Bleier Bourbon is not an off-the-shelf product. No mass production. It’s a unique spirit that honors our family and supports our brave soldiers.”
“Rocky and I are certified bourbon stewards. We both cherish the bourbon-making process and being able to sip spirits with family and friends,” reflected Bob. “The conversation is always enhanced and with Purple Heart Bourbon, we will magnify the good we can do.”
The Military Order of the Purple Heart operates 42 departments plus multiple regional chapters for its members across the United States. MOPH provides advocacy for veterans, runs youth programs, and offers courses on Americanism. The organization’s website states: “Everything we do is to help America’s active duty, veterans, her families, and those who have borne the burden of battle.”
Online pre-sale orders have been swift and there are less than 500 bottles remaining of the exclusive Purple Heart Bourbon. Many customers are making purchases before Veterans Day on November 11, 2023, to honor their comrades. The limit is two bottles per person for those 21 and older. Each 750ml bottle costs $150.00.
“It’s been an absolute honor to partner with the Bleiers and create the Purple Heart Bourbon,” reflected Brunett. “We hope customers will toast to the selfless contributions of our nation’s heroes and join Iron Smoke in honoring their resilience and remarkable service.”
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