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A Bourbon and Boots Bond



It’s wild how some things come together perfectly at times or simply make sense together. Can you imagine a world without peanut butter and jelly, wine and cheese or cider and donuts?! Some things in life just instantly make a perfect pair. Some things in life are just meant to be together.

Lucky for the Boot Campaign, over the years, they too have found and worked with partners who just make sense together—like it was simply, just meant to be.

Such is the case with one company that many of us have come to sip and savor over the years and has been in business for more than 145 years—a brand uniquely guided by a philosophy to: “Follow your instinct, never the herd.” Thankfully, following that instinct has led this iconic, American brand in the wild direction to join forces with the foundation.

Campari America’s Wild Turkey Bourbon, one of the finest bourbons on the market has been teaming up with Boot Campaign over the last three years to help raise awareness, and funds, for our men and women in uniform. The partnership, which began on a regional level with its Texas-based sales director, quickly became a national partnership when both entities realized the bond truly was a perfect match.

“We definitely benefit from [our partnership] in the sense that we are provided a platform to show our fans what we stand for outside of making a beloved, truly American bourbon,” explained Eric Ariyoshi, Wild Turkey’s brand manager. “What we’re seeing is that consumers are scrutinizing brands much more closely for not only authenticity, but also for what the brand stands for. For Wild Turkey, it’s very, very important to us that we support America and the people who defend it. And we think it’s important that our consumers understand we support that. We really look at our relationship with Boot Campaign as a classic ‘win-win’ situation,” he explained.

The feeling is mutual for the Boot Campaign, as Robyn Payne, its Executive Director of Operations explained. “Our partnership with Wild Turkey enables us to provide hundreds and thousands of dollars worth of assistance for veterans and their families. The power of the Wild Turkey brand helps us reach millions of Americans and further our mission to awaken the patriot in them.”

Since the first “Boot Shoot,” whether it’s been signage, product or promotion, Wild Turkey has been in the trenches serving the foundation to garner more attention to raise more funds. Ariyoshi explained that the first year of involvement was focused primarily on promotional activity, but as the relationship grew, a natural progression occurred and the brand is ramping up more and more opportunities to cast a broader focus with the goal of spreading the message.

“This year our involvement has transitioned from a more narrow focus to on-premise promotions including our restaurant channels, engaging our distributor customers as well as the liquor stores and bars who carry us. We also have more public relations activity and have employed value-added products to our promotions like, one of our most recent, a glass boot packaged within a box containing a bottle of bourbon and promoting our social media campaign #TurkeyBoots. As time goes on, we’re reaching more channels and going deeper within them,” he said.

Part of Wild Turkey’s broader push with Boot Campaign began during last year’s “Boots and Bourbon” campaign, which was a co-branded charity initiative that rolled out from April to September 2013. Through this campaign, each purchase of Wild Turkey Bourbon helped support the Boot Campaign, which included special co-branded packaging, social media integration, nationwide in-store promotions and various fundraising events.

That support continues today. More recently, the clever #TurkeyBoots social media campaign, Ariyoshi mentioned, employed the active duty service of today’s “tweeting” community. The promotion, which is still ongoing and has already hit its goal in raising $25,000 simply asks those on Twitter to tweet: #TukeyBoots. For each tweet, Wild Turkey donates a dollar to the Boot Campaign.

Ariyoshi estimates, to date, Campari America/Wild Turkey has raised more than $100,000 for the foundation and that doesn’t include ongoing fundraising efforts.

Wild Turkey is an iconic brand rooted deeply in American life. The distillery, located in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky opened in 1869. Its Master Distiller, Jimmy Russell, who joined the distillery 60 years ago and his son, Associate Master Distiller, Eddie Russell, run it today. Interestingly, as Wild Turkey’s website explains, bourbon is a native, American spirit.

Simply put, Bourbon was born here.

From the corporate level, down to the distillery in Kentucky, Wild Turkey’s involvement was also born from an American spirit going beyond the brand. As partners, they’re commitment stems, also, from being personally touched by our military. Calling the relationship a “labor of love,” Ariyoshi explained that Boot Campaign has touched him because he too, has friends and family who are serving and have served. In fact, one of his own close friends served as an Army Ranger in Somalia during the time of Black Hawk Down. His commitment to and personal passion for Boot Campaign continued to grow after attending events like the 2013 “Boot Ride” cocktail reception, during which, a military family was presented with a home. “It was a moment I’m never going to forget and it just made it more real. It’s an unbelievable cause.”

The Russells have also gotten in on the bandwagon, when they too, strapped their boots on and posed for a Boot Campaign picture. “Wild Turkey is obviously a beloved brand, but it’s made up of a lot of individuals who care about the brand and the people drinking it, but there’s no one we respect more as a group, than the people who serve and defend our freedoms so that we can sit around drinking bourbon,” said Ariyoshi.

Bourbon and Boots, a bond born between two of America’s native spirits.