Shave off the Beards, Drink all the Bourbon
We are halfway through a busy bourbon fall release season full of amazing bourbons including Buffalo Trace’s highly anticipated Antique Collection and Four Roses’ 130 Anniversary Limited Edition Small Batch. And while all of that sounds amazing and the majority of us are on the hunt searching for these unicorn bottles to add to our collections; I must ask you to stop and have a seat to take this moment to discuss something of utmost importance —- your health. Not us women, that was last month - with Breast Cancer Awareness month. I’m talking about the number one consumer demographic in the bourbon industry – Men. For the entire month of November, I am challenging you and the Bourbon Industry to make an everlasting impact on Men’s Health by shaving off your beards and stashes and joining the Movember Movement.
The Movember Foundation started out of a candid conversation between friends in a bar back in 2003 and the concept is fairly simple. Shave off your ‘MO’ustache on November 1st and let it grow in all month long to bring awareness to men’s health issues such as prostate and testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention. Why is this important? Well, men don't necessarily skip to the doctor’s office when something is wrong with them. Nor do they have many confidants to discuss some of their deepest fears and anxieties with. True, men do come together to sip their bourbon, but lets be honest here. How many are having deep and truthful conversations about themselves and their health while sipping whiskey with friends?
There in lies the challenge to you and the bourbon industry. Men – major consumers of our beloved Native Spirit – die on average of 6 years before their female counterparts. 1 out of 9 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and 3 out of 4 suicides are men. These numbers are shocking. Some of your favorite drinking buddies are at serious risk. From an industry perspective, your largest consumer demographic is more informed about the whiskey making process than they are informed about their risks for cancer and other health issues. We need your help. If you care about the consumers who eagerly hunt all year long for a bottle of your whiskey, have some of their fondest memories while sipping your bourbons with friends and family; we need you to lead the conversation on keeping them healthy while they imbibe all your whiskey. Not only shave off your moustaches, but consider supporting organizations that provide health services to men in underserved communities. Support awareness groups like the Movember Foundation who continues to educate and empower men to take a proactive approach to managing their health. It’s time to invest in your consumers who essentially have been investing in you all these years.
It’s also time that we (writers, readers and listeners of the ABV Network) leverage all of our influence and encourage our friends, family, audiences, and consumers to educate themselves on the need for more awareness around men’s mental and physical health. I know, I don't have a beard; but I do care about all of the men in my life – especially my Bonded in Bourbon partner Armond; my bourbon bestie, Colonel Steve; and the bourbon infamous, Evan Haskill. So will you join me? Will you shave it off to save someone’s health? I promise it will grow back fuller and fluffier than ever before. You can still hunt, collect, and drink all the bourbon you want while you wait too… as long as you promise to have the conversation about the importance of health when someone asks, ‘what happened to your beard’?
This article was originally published in Bourbon Zeppelin Newsletter on November 1, 2018.