NEW MILFORD — It was over a single barrel of bourbon whiskey that John NeJaime, owner of NeJaime’s Wine & Spirits and New Milford Spirit Shoppe, hatched the idea for a fundraiser to support a nonprofit that gifts homes to military veterans.
NeJaime said the inspiration for the fundraiser came after a visit to Litchfield Distillery in Litchfield with friends from “CT Bourbon Bastards,” a Facebook bourbon community with over 1,600 members.
After their visit to Litchfield Distillery, the “CT Bourbon Bastards” promoted a barrel of whiskey purchased from Litchfield Distillery on the group’s Facebook page and the barrel “sold out immediately,” according to NeJaime.
NeJaime was inspired to pick a special Litchfield Distillery single-barrel whiskey to sell at his business and donate all the proceeds to a nonprofit.
He partnered with “CT Bourbon Bastards” and Taylor Deegan from Worldwide Wine & Spirits in Southington to pick a single barrel of 5-year-old bourbon whiskey from Litchfield Distillery for the fundraiser.
A total of 150 bottles of the whiskey were released for sale at NeJaime’s Wine & Spirits and Worldwide Wine & Spirits on Friday. For $59.99, customers can purchase a bottle of whiskey that will go toward creating homes for veterans and their families. All proceeds will be donated to Building Homes for Heroes.
NeJaime’s choice of nonprofit for the fundraiser came from his connections to Building Homes for Heroes, a New York-based nonprofit that builds or modifies homes and gifts them mortgage-free to injured veterans and their families, according to the nonprofit’s website.
Building Homes for Heroes also provides family team-building and support services for veterans’ physical, emotional and financial wellbeing, said Tony Sigillito, a friend of NeJaime’s and founding board member and treasurer for the nonprofit.
“There’s a lot of needs out there, but Building Homes for Heroes relates to our product,” Baker said. “Our tagline is, ‘The spirit of hard work,’ and nobody works harder than the vets. And we think the values between that nonprofit and everybody involved seemed to link up to our values.”
Five different barrels of Litchfield Distillery’s whiskey were tasted before the group picked the 5-year-old bourbon whiskey for the fundraiser.
Baker said the selected bourbon whiskey is 122-proof and “one of our first releases of that proof in a five-year range.”
“I think it’ll go pretty quickly,” he said. “We expect it to sell out right away.”
That same evening, Baker presented Chloe Sigillito, Tony Sigillito’s daughter, with a $500 check to support Building Homes for Heroes, said Tony Vengrove, whose firm Miles Finch Innovation handles the branding and marketing for Litchfield Distillery.
An additional $275 was raised for Building Homes for Heroes in an auction for a limited six-year Litchfield Distillery bourbon whiskey.
For more information please visit https://litchfielddistillery.com/