Brown-Forman - 150 Years of Whiskey

Brown-Forman Corporation announced its contributing an additional $20 million to the Brown-Forman Foundation. The Brown-Forman Foundation was created in 2018 to serve the company’s strategic charitable mission and ongoing philanthropic endeavors. The Foundation’s efforts focus on arts and culture, education, social services, reduction of alcohol-related harm, and environmental sustainability. Its community investments will center on the company’s hometown, with a special emphasis in west Louisville.

“We have been a proud corporate citizen of our hometown for our entire 150-year history,” said Lawson Whiting, President and CEO, Brown-Forman Corporation. “This gift of $20 million to the Brown-Forman Foundation will help it generate investment dollars to be used to further education and community-building in an area that has experienced the effects of systemic racism for far too long. This important investment is part of our commitment to be better and do better as individuals, leaders, and teams in Louisville and our west Louisville home.”


Old Forester Distillery - Vintage 1910 Old Fine Whiskey Bottle
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Old Forester Vintage 1910 Old Fine Whiskey Bottle.

Brown-Forman Founded 1870: With $5,500 in saved and borrowed money, George Garvin Brown, a young pharmaceuticals salesman in Louisville, Kentucky, starts J.T.S. Brown and Bro. with his half-brother. They sell whisky in sealed glass bottles to assure its quality, an innovative approach at a time when whisky is commonly sold by the barrel. Old Forester Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky is the flagship brand. After several name changes and the dissolution of the original partnership, George Garvin enters in a partnership with George Forman, his accountant and friend, and Brown-Forman is created.

The $20 million planned contribution follows an initial $70 million donation from the company that provided the principal funding for the creation of the Foundation. The Foundation anticipates using the investment results from the combined approximate $90 million corpus beginning this year and for years to follow.

In 2020, Brown-Forman Corporation and the Brown-Forman Foundation’s combined charitable contributions totaled $13 million. Investment recipients included the following organizations.

  • Republic Bank Foundation YMCA
  • Volunteers of America
  • Actors Theatre of Louisville
  • Simmons College Kentucky

COVID-19 response donations elevated this year’s total and included contributions to the One Louisville COVID-19 Relief Fund, the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation COVID-19 Crisis Relief Fund, and the United States Bartenders’ Guild (USBG) Foundation Emergency Assistance Program.

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Brown-Forman Celebrating 150 Years

Brown-Forman makes a variety of spirits brands including Jack Daniels Distillery, Woodford Reserve Distillery, Old Forester Distillery, Finlandia, el Jimador, Coopers’ Craft, Tequila Herradura Distillery, New Mix, Chambord, BenRiach Distillery, GlenDronach Distillery, Glenglassaugh Distillery, Slane Distillery, and Fords Gin.

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