People aren’t created with formulas, or recipes, or any sort of rhyme or reason. They’re made with something between science and magic, coming in with brains half-formed and coming out with the ability to create skyscrapers. There are some traits that can be acquired over time, like resilience and respect, but most are with us from the beginning, becoming core components of our identity.
“All of us are different but all of us start in the land.” ~ Mascaro
There are qualities that have gone unappreciated in the past, while others have been grounds for discrimination, prosecution, and even violence. But times are changing. The desire for clean-cut, camera-ready, cookie-cutter reflections is fading fast, leaving behind a need to be ourselves. And with that comes the need to experience genuine love, no matter who it may be.
BigFish is proud to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and their ability to overcome adversity, all while remaining true to themselves, and true to the belief that love is a human right. Featured are ten distilleries involved in the LGBTQ+ community, whether it is through donations, events, or personal endeavors.
Dented Brick Distillery
Salt Lake City Pride was held on the second week of June, and Dented Brick Distillery was there happily supporting the event, offering a spirits sponsorship and some cash donations. Dented Brick Distillery does this to not only support the community as a whole, but to support their staff members within the community.
“We have a diverse team here, women, minorities, and LGBTQ staff. We are also members and contributors to Human Rights Campaign,” says Marc Christensen. “[For the staff involved, I think Pride Month] gives a sense of community and acceptance that was not available before Pride started. Pride is creating acceptance across many demographics.”
SILO Distillery is located in a rural area of Vermont, and because of this there are no local parades to celebrate Pride Month. But that doesn’t stop them from supporting the community year round.
“We still celebrate it in our own way, welcoming everyone and anyone in through our doors...we [are] a company that promotes and believes in equality, inclusivity and providing safe spaces for people of all sexes, genders, races and sexualities to enjoy life and liberty.”
“People deserve to be loved.” ~ Erin Bell, SILO Distillery
Erin Bell is a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community, and the Head Distiller of SILO Distillery. When Pride Month comes around, she tries to visit larger cities such as Salt Lake City to participate in the bigger celebrations and parades “and just be saturated in the joy and freedom and love of those spaces...I came out much later in life and I find it awe-inspiring to watch youth, families, and even my own friends celebrating something that carried such a heavy weight years ago,” Erin explains. “It really is a feeling of elation and weightlessness to be surrounded by people as they unfold themselves from their armor and show themselves to the world.”
Erin is in the process of creating a special edition vodka for SILO Distillery to support the Human Rights Campaign as well as Vermont’s youth centers. As a company, SILO Distillery aims to provide a sanctuary for people “to confidently walk into a space that doesn't just accept, but celebrates you.”
“People deserve to be loved, deserve to know they matter, deserve to be given permission to find their way in life and find a sense of purpose. They shouldn't be held down or back because they don't fit a mold prescribed by a world that knows nothing about them. Because none of us fit that mold. Every person at SILO believes in the strength and beauty of the individual. It is what makes us so great at what we do – all the things that separate us from that mold offers personality, compassion, integrity, grit, purpose and attitude. And we freaking love that. We think everyone should be given the opportunity to find that, and be welcomed.”
Albany Distilling Co.
As a company, Albany Distilling Co. believes in supporting the LGBTQ+ community, not only during Pride Month, but year round. Their ALB Pride Vodka is the same recipe as their ALB Vodka, but a percentage of the proceeds go to the Pride Center of the Capital Region. “We host pride mixers at our Bar and Bottle Shop, and have a month long raffle going on--100% of the proceeds will go directly to the Pride Center of the Capital Region.” Sales Manager Kyle Cerutti says.
“Pride Month is a time of togetherness…[a key member of the distillery and the LGBTQ+ community] participates in many events and celebrates her community...We are Proud to be local, proud to be part of the community, and proud to support an incredibly inclusive community among ours.”
Backwards Distilling Company
According to their website, Backwards Distilling Company was born of an appreciation for fine spirits and a propensity for the unusual. The founders of Backwards have always sought those aspects of the world that are unique, that have a little bit of quirk, that fall outside the norm. In that spirit, the Pollock family imagined a brand that would reflect and celebrate these traits.
“We participate in Casper Pride, which is a four day long celebration in my hometown,” Co-Owner and Tasting Room Manager Amber Pollock says. “We have been a sponsor of the event since the beginning and have hosted the Casper Pride Drag show each year which raises funds for the organization. We also have a personal stake in seeing our community embrace diversity because we are partially LGBTQ+ owned and have employees past and present who identify as such as well.”
Amber Pollock is a proud member of the community as well as being a key member of the Backwards Distilling Company team, along with her wife. “I am married to the President of the Casper Pride Organization and she is my right hand woman at the distillery as well, handling much of the day-to-day operations of the tasting room. She was one of the original organizers of Casper Pride as it looks today and founded the official Casper Pride organization as its own 501(c)3.”
Backwards Distilling Company supports the LGBTQ+ community through advocacy, providing a platform, and by helping other businesses in their town to work towards policies and culture that are supportive of the LGBTQ+ community. “We want to see our community become a more welcoming and inclusive place and we like to support causes that move the needle forward in that effort.”
Marble Distilling Co.
Connie Baker and Wm Carey Shanks opened Marble Distilling Co. in 2015 with the intention of creating sustainable spirits. It is one of the few zero-waste distilleries in the world, making them pioneers in the industry. Marble Distilling Co. describes themselves as fortunate to live their passions, doing so through their spirits, sustainability, and their service to the community.
Marble Distilling Co. participated in their local Pride Parade, in addition to serving specialty cocktails in honor of Pride Month. These cocktails included a fushia-purple Cosmo named The Queer Eye and their version of a White Russian, named The Harvey Milk in honor of the first openly gay official elected in California in 1972, serving around eleven months before he was assasinated.
“We donated bottles of spirits for a raffle and comp’d a room for Candy Warhol while she was in Carbondale hosting the Drag Queen Brunch at our local Beer House,” says Connie Baker. “We supported the “All Bets on Drag” sponsored by G4G – Gay For Good and Aspen OUT. We also post any events on our community board.”
When asked why she supports the LGBTQ+ community, Connie responded simply. “It's the right thing to do.”
Iron Fish Distillery
Iron Fish Distillery fully embraces all people and supports all walks of life. They are proud to provide a space that is supportive and safe to all guests that visit them throughout the year. Iron Fish Distillery’s website states their true passion “is to offer customers and visitors the craft of soil-to-spirit distilling from a family business that cares about our employees, community, and the living land.” They practice this not only through their craft spirits, but through their contributions to local events.
Iron Fish Distillery is a proud sponsor of Up North Pride for the second year in a row. By sponsoring Up North Pride they are supporting the local LGBTQ+ community and organizations that provide resources for anyone that is in need. They are proud to be part of something bigger than themselves and will continue to give back to the LGBTQ+ community in any way that they can in the years to come.
They value inclusivity and love as a company and are extremely honored to take part in the events. At Iron Fish Distillery they take pride in their craft cocktail program, happy to share a variety of cocktails at Drag night on Friday, June 21st and the Visibility Celebration on Saturday, June 22nd. Even though Iron Fish Distillery will not be crafting cocktails all week long, their employees are eager to participate in all of the events that are taking place.
"Pride month is a time to commemorate the Stonewall Riots that occurred in 1969. It's dedicated to taking a stand against discrimination and violence and coming together in solidarity and dignity to celebrate the diversity and beauty of our community,” Tasting Room Manager Maureen Comiskey explains. “Pride is a time to embrace your individuality and authenticity by spreading love and kindness in all areas of your life. Love is love and that's all you need."
“Every day we raise a glass to all those who dare to deviate from the norm.” ~ Deviant Spirits Distillery
Whether you’re an active member or an ally, celebrate. Be proud of the changes we’ve made, the ways we’ve grown, and the people we’ve learned from. Be proud that we’re still not done. Even if it seems small, supporting other communities can make a big difference. These distilleries do their part to encourage individuality because it’s the same idea that drives their own work. Our struggles are different and our accomplishments are varied, but at the end of the day we’re all working towards the same goal: To be happy, healthy, and successful. So why not do it together?