Maker's Mark Community Bottle

The LEE Initiative Partners with Maker’s Mark® to Release Second Annual “CommUNITY Batch” Bourbon with 100% of Proceeds Supporting the Hospitality Industry

November 23, 2021

For Immediate Release – November 23, 2021

Launching on Giving Tuesday, Latest CommUNITY Batch Bourbon Combines Private Selection Recipes of 40+ Whisky Clubs from Across the Country  

LOUISVILLE, Ky (November 23, 2020) – The LEE Initiative, in partnership with Maker’s Mark® Bourbon, today announced the launch of the second-annual limited-edition “CommUNITY Batch,” a special release bourbon created exclusively to support spirits industry trade and hospitality partners across the country. The distinguished bourbon expression was created by blending Maker’s Mark Private Selection barrels from over 40 whisky clubs from across the United States and one in the United Kingdom. Similar to the 2020 bottling, which was originally created to support COVID-19 relief for the hospitality industry, this limited time offering will be made exclusively available at select events and opportunities across the country, with 100% of bottle proceeds benefiting The LEE Initiative in its mission to support trade and hospitality partners around the country and create a more diverse and equitable restaurant industry. Information for specific events, which commence on #GivingTuesday (November 30, 2021), and details on the bourbon can be found at  

The Spirit of CommUNITY  

Off the heels of the 2020 CommUNITY Batch offering that generated over $2 million for restaurant relief and more, the 2021 offering will continue supporting the bar and restaurant community in a time of sustained unprecedented need. As the country’s interest in whisky has continued to grow, Whisky Clubs have become integral to the ever- growing spirits community as platforms to share thoughts, opinions, experiences, and support for likeminded individuals in the space. The 2021 bottling was created by some of these passionate people with exceptional palates. By combining the stave profiles of their Private Selection barrels, this limited release reflects the remarkable strength – and distinct taste profile – of each community. The result is an exquisite expression that is truly made by the community, for the community.  

“Our second bottling of CommUNITY Batch Bourbon with Maker’s Mark is monumental because like any community, it takes time to build trust, loyalty and kinship,” said Edward Lee, James Beard Award Winning author, restaurateur, chef and founder of the LEE Initiative. “We have that with Maker’s Mark, and we are building that relationship with our many supporters who love to follow our evolving programs at The LEE Initiative while drinking amazing bourbon along the journey.”  

Giving Back on #GivingTuesday and Beyond  

Beginning on #GivingTuesday (November 30, 2021), the Maker’s Mark CommUNITY Batch Bourbon will be available via The LEE Initiative events in select cities where Maker’s Mark Private Selection partners are located. For interested individuals 21 years or older, suggested donations begin at $70.00 and vary by event, with additional details available at  

“It’s been an honor and privilege to work alongside Chef Lee, Lindsey Ofcacek and their team on various philanthropic efforts, including opening 19 relief kitchen across the country amidst the pandemic,” said Rob Samuels, Chief Distillery Officer of Maker’s Mark. “At Maker’s Mark, we treasure the bonds we’ve made with trade and hospitality partners who love to share our bourbon as much as we do, which is especially true of the Whisky Clubs who participated in creating the 2021 CommUNITY Batch. Together with this whisky-loving community, we are proud to support The LEE Initiative and look forward to continuing our partnership to benefit and champion the industry.”  

How We Made It: A One-of-a-kind Limited Release  

To create the CommUNITY Batch, Maker’s Mark tapped 41 whisky clubs across the country who are equally passionate about whisky and the hospitality industry. Lending their expert palates, these aficionados specially crafted and shared their Maker’s Mark Private Selection bourbon recipes to create this truly one-of-a-kind limited release.  

  • First, Maker’s Mark created individual barrels of Private Selection Bourbon by taking fully-matured cask strength Maker’s Mark and finishing it with each partner’s unique combination of ten barrel staves for an additional nine weeks in the Maker’s Mark Cellar.  
  • Once finished, the whisky from the barrels was blended and filled back into the barrels to rest for an additional five weeks to allow the subtle nuances of the custom bourbon to properly integrate.  
  • The resulting characteristics of the 2021 CommUNITY Batch include:  
    • StaveContributions:P2(18%),CU(22%),46(17%),Mn(28%)andSP(15%) 
    • Proof:107.7 
    • Tasting notes: Notes of cherry and subtle wood spice. Rich and balanced. Not too sweet, not too spicy. Even in tone. Pleasant and long finish where the subtle spice notes linger.  

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Media Contacts:  

The LEE Initiative // Wagstaff: Collis Hillebrand Email: [email protected]
Phone: 502-741-7351  

Maker’s Mark // EVINS Communications: Pamela Pincow Email: [email protected]
Phone: 516-884-6929  

About The LEE Initiative  

The LEE (Let’s Empower Employment) Initiative, founded in 2017 by Lindsey Ofcacek and Edward Lee, aims to address issues of equality and diversity in the restaurant industry by implementing programs to directly support people in hospitality. The first initiative was the Women Chefs in Kentucky program which provides mentorship opportunities to female chefs in Kentucky. In response to massive layoffs in the hospitality industry due to the COVID-19 outbreak nationwide The LEE Initiative, in partnership with Maker’s Mark, launched The Restaurant Workers Relief Program. This program started on Tuesday, March 17 out of the catering kitchen of Lee’s restaurant, 610 Magnolia, and has since expanded to include services offered out of 19 kitchens nationwide, and 600,000 meals served thus far. As restaurants start to reopen, The LEE Initiative launched the Restaurant Reboot Relief Program to help fix the supply chain, committing to invest $1 million into sustainable farms. Farms will then give that product to restaurant partners as the restaurants reopen. Following the death of Chef David McAtee, The LEE Initiative launched McAtee Community Kitchen, which serves fresh meals and groceries to families in Louisville’s Shelby Park, Smoketown and West End neighborhoods. For more information, please visit  

About Maker’s Mark® Bourbon  

In 1953, in Loretto, Ky., Bill Samuels, Sr., fulfilled his dream to create a handmade and delicious bourbon. He decided to make his whisky in small batches, using soft red winter wheat to enhance the softness and sweetness. He then rotated each barrel by hand for consistency and, finally, aged each barrel to taste. Bill Samuels, Sr., transformed bourbon from a “commodity” into a premium handmade spirit, and today Maker’s Mark continues to make its bourbon the same way. That time-tested approach seems to still be working just fine 60+ years later, as Maker’s Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon was awarded a Double Gold medal at the esteemed San Francisco Spirits Competition in 2021. In recent years, Maker’s Mark has introduced thoughtful, super-premium innovations to its portfolio, including Maker’s Mark 46, Maker’s Mark Cask Strength and Maker’s Mark Private Selection, the brand’s first-ever custom barrel program. For more information, visit  


Maker’s Mark® Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky, 45% Alc./Vol. ©2021 Maker’s Mark Distillery, Inc., Loretto, KY. 

Enjoy Like a True Kentuckian: Responsibly