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Jefferson’s Bourbon Founder Helps Launch New Entrepreneurial Fund, Associated Bourbon

Jefferson’s Bourbon recently partnered up to honor of one of the earliest documented “women in American whiskey,” and through this initiative will help budding entrepreneurs kickstart new businesses.

A statement from Jefferson’s said they launched the Marian McLain Entrepreneurial Fund contest with hopes to inspire and empower innovative minds with the tenacity exemplified by Jefferson’s founder Trey Zoeller’s eighth-generation grandmother, Marian McLain.

The partnership is spearheaded by two prominent entrepreneurs in their own right, Zoeller along with Shark Tank’s Barbara Corcoran. And they said the $25,000 in awards look to motivate future entrepreneurs’ new business ventures.

Jefferson's Marian McLain Bourbon
Jefferson’s Bourbon recently partnered up to honor of one of the earliest documented “women in American whiskey,” and through this initiative will help budding entrepreneurs kickstart new businesses. (image via Jefferson’s)

The story goes, after Marian McLain’s husband died in the Revolutionary War, and to support her five children, she turned to the illegal production and distribution of liquor. In 1799, she became one of the earliest documented women in American whiskey as a result of being arrested for bootlegging and moonshining.

Her story and tenacity became the inspiration for the Jefferson’s brand, and now, with the help of Corcoran, the brand looks to inspire others to do the same.

“Just like Marian, I took big risks to create something for myself, and for my family, even when it was incredibly hard,” Corcoran said, in the prepared statement. “But with big risk comes big reward … that’s what being an entrepreneur is all about. And that’s why I’m partnering with Jefferson’s Bourbon to bring the Marian McLain Entrepreneurial Fund to life.”

Trey Zoeller and his father Chet, just like Marian long before them, continue to operate at the frontier of whiskey, challenging the definition of bourbon and honoring tradition.

The Fund’s launch is timed with the release of Jefferson’s newest bourbon, called Marian McLain, a blend of five unique bourbons: 21% 14-Year-Old Tennessee Straight Bourbon Whiskey; 40% 11-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey; 14% Wheated Double-Barrel; 17% Rum Cask Finish; 8% 8 Year-Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

One for each of her five children.

“We started Jefferson’s on a shoestring budget and with Marian’s vivacious spirit in mind … it’s why we do what we do,” Zoeller said. “This entrepreneurial fund is our way of helping other people who, like Marian and Corcoran, are risking everything to pursue their dreams.”

On the Jefferson’s website, small business hopefuls are asked to submit their innovative business ideas with a short video. The grand prize winner, selected by Zoeller and Corcoran, will receive $20,000 in funding to kickstart their venture, as well as a congratulatory call from Corcoran, and a “shop talk” interview with Trey.

Five runners up will also be selected to win $1,000 awards, the amount Barbara Corcoran started her business with. “Small budgets can build big dreams,” she said.

For more information or to submit an idea and video, check out www.jeffersonsbourbon.com/jeffersons-marian-mclain

Gary Carter

Gary Carter has been at the helm of metro newspapers, magazines, and television news programs as well as a radio host and marketing manager. He is a writer/editor/photographer/designer by trade, with more than 30 years experience in the publishing and marketing field. Gary enjoys working to build something great, whether that be a novel project, a start-up, an organization, a fresh-face to the journalistic world, or even something as simple as a short story. A native Texan and a Pacific Northwest convert, he is a whiskey enthusiast who cut his teeth on it ... literally!

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