OMAHA — Country star Lee Greenwood has launched a signature brand of whiskey, joining the ranks of fellow musicians Darius Rucker, John Rich of Big & Rich and the guys in Florida Georgia Line.
And it’s made by a local company.
The singer, best known for the ubiquitous “God Bless the USA,” has partnered with Soldier Valley Spirits to launch Lee Greenwood Signature bourbon in April. It is being produced at the company’s La Vista distillery.
The 6-year-old whiskey blends Soldier Valley’s house-made bourbon — distilled from Nebraska corn — with sourced bourbon for a mix that is 45% alcohol by volume.
The bottle looks like a World War II-era canteen, with a red, white and blue dog tag around the neck. Greenwood’s signature is on the label.
Soldier Valley was started by veterans, said David Young, the company’s president.
That was attractive to Greenwood.
“If you look at the history of my career, you won’t find my name associated with anything else other than something military,” he said in a news release. “We looked at other companies, but Soldier Valley was the only one that stood out as an endorsement of our military, and that’s pretty much what I am all about.”
Greenwood said he toured the Soldier Valley distillery and was impressed with the employees, the clean atmosphere and the product.
The company donates to several organizations for vets, including Omaha National Cemetery, and plans to give a portion of the profits from the Greenwood bourbon to such groups.
Founder Jeff Hadden served in the Army National Guard in the 1980s. He was an alcohol wholesaler after he left the military. He loved whiskey and became interested in making it himself. He started Soldier Valley in 2013 to turn his hobby into a business.
He recalls being moved by “God Bless the USA” when it debuted in 1984. He said he realized how meaningful the partnership with Greenwood would be when they were discussing it around the singer’s kitchen table.
“Here I am so many years later after hearing that song, and, knowing that song has always given me goosebumps, it was just like, ‘Oh, my gosh, it’s meant to be,’” Hadden recalled.
The signature bourbon will retail for $55 and will initially be sold on the Gulf Coast and at military bases around the country. It will be introduced elsewhere throughout 2021.
Young, who served in the Marine Corps, said Soldier Valley was proud to be chosen to produce the bourbon, especially considering that there are many larger distilleries out there.
“It’s a pretty big deal for us,” he said. “We are a small craft distillery.”
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