If you’ve been around the bourbon industry for a fair amount of time, most likely you have a home bar that’s stocked with rarities, one-offs and limited editions anyone would love to sample.
On Wednesday, April 12, four prominent members of the bourbon community are sharing their collections in a private tasting event that benefits the March of Dimes and a family who has ties to the bourbon industry. The Bourbon Benefit was co-organized by Whisky Chicks founder Linda Ruffenach to help raise funds for the March of Dimes, a nonprofit organization that helps pregnant women and babies.
Along with Ruffenach, bourbon author and expert Fred Minnick, historian and author Michael Veach, and Westport Whiskey & Wine owner Chris Zaborowski will dip into their own private bourbon selections for the event.
The benefit was created to give back to an organization that recently helped Kelly and Glenn Hubbuch. Kelly Hubbuch previously served as a marketing coordinator for the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience and later became the social media manager for Heaven Hill’s whiskey portfolio.
During her pregnancy nearly two years ago, doctors discovered a rare genetic disorder that caused her daughter Reese to be born prematurely at just 31 weeks and weighing 1 pound, 15 ounces.
“The NICU is often compared to a roller-coaster ride, and for good reason,” Kelly Hubbuch tells Insider. “It is an experience I wouldn’t wish upon a single soul.”
Reese spent 75 days in the hospital and overcame many challenges before being discharged. She is now a happy 20-month-old with some minor health issues, and the Hubbuchs are grateful for the support of the March of Dimes, which helps with research, education, vaccines and breakthroughs for premature babies. In fact, the Hubbuchs have been named the 2017 March for Babies Ambassador family.
Hubbuch recalls how much the staff from the March of Dimes helped her family deal with the dire circumstances early on.
“On the happy days, her doctors, nurses and staff — including a representative from the March of Dimes — celebrated her milestones and victories with as much pride and excitement as we did, as if she was their very own child,” she says. “And on the dark days, they provided a level of comfort and support far beyond the requirements of their daily job, holding our hands, drying our tears and offering prayers when the pressure and weight of the NICU were simply too much to handle on our own.”
Hubbuch says she’s thrilled to be selected as the Ambassador Family and would love to help spread the word of the organization, which is one of the goals of the first-ever “Bourbon Benefit.”
“As the Ambassador Family, we hope to raise further awareness of premature birth and help to provide every baby with a fighting chance,” says Hubbuch, who adds that while she’s looking forward to the unique bourbon at the event, there is something much more special than that. “I’m just genuinely excited to see individuals in this community come together to benefit a cause that’s so near and dear to the hearts of preemie families everywhere.”
Ruffenach tells Insider Hubbuch, who is a member of the Whisky Chicks, came up with the idea for the benefit along with Minnick. Ruffenach immediately offered to be a part of the event and offered up the Whisky Chicks Loft as a venue.
“When Kelly shared the idea for the fundraiser and mentioned she had others who wanted to be part of the event, I instantly said yes. Offering up the space and a bottle of bourbon seemed like nothing,” says Ruffenach. “It is a great cause, and Kelly and her husband are amazing people who have strong connections to the industry, so it was very easy to get the bourbon experts on board.”
While most of the participants are keeping the bourbon they’ll provide a secret, Ruffenach let it slip that one of her offerings will be a bottle of 10-year-old Willett Family Estate Single Barrel that was bottled in 2013.
The Bourbon Benefit takes place from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 12, at the Whisky Chicks Loft, 110 W. Main St. #302. The event includes bourbon tastings, appetizers, a silent auction and more. A very limited number of tickets are available for $75 each, and proceeds go to the March of Dimes.