“We are truly blessed at what we do,” says Nathaniel Rateliff from a small scene. Blok Distillation Inc. During a launch party for Night Sweats Bourbon with friends and family. “And part of that is because of this community and the continued support we’ve had over the years. And trying to give back is just right.”
This is exactly what a local to international hit musician has been doing since he started. Marigold Project in 2017.
Rateliff met Kari Nott, who has a fundraising background, at Farm-Aid in 2016. “He wanted to do something and didn’t quite know what it was like,” Nott recalls. Nott, who is currently the executive director of the Marigold Project, is working with Rateliff to “direct money to organizations we care about,” groups focused on racial, social and economic justice. Colorado Freedom Fund, Denver City Gardens and Humanitarian Centersupports day-to-day workers.
Before 2020, most of Project Marigold’s fundraising was tied to live events, but when the pandemic hit, Nott and Rateliff had to look elsewhere. Block Distilling Co., located at 2990 Larimer Street, was reevaluating plans last year as well. “Block was really trying to understand who we are as a brand and as individuals, and it was doing a lot of soul searching,” explains co-owner Kraig Weaver. “Even though we are a small company, we were trying to figure out what we could do to support our beliefs and values.”
Weaver laughs, saying that the partnership between the nonprofit and the distillery “it all started with a trucker hat.” “From this we found Project Marigold and reached out to Kari and she immediately took our call.”
Nott was already a fan of Block. “I used to come here quite often,” she says. “It was the quality of their drink, Elijah’s [McClain] It was knowing how they grew grain, how they paid their workers not just a living wage, but a flourishing wage, and how they treated their workers. All of this has been incorporated into this partnership.”
Weaver explains that the initial conversations “slowly became a cocktail in the tasting room.” Marigold Sour is made with bourbon, marigold syrup, gomme honey marigold tincture, salt water, lemon and egg whites; A portion of all sales of the beverage goes to Project Marigold.
As the relationship grew, Rateliff and Night Sweats members Joseph Pope III, Patrick Meese, Luke Mossman, Mark Shusterman, Andreas Wild, Daniel Hardaway, and Jeff Dazey decided to partner on a bourbon, especially after tasting a bottle from Block. In a random spin, Block was already in the process of designing a bottle for another whiskey containing a columbine and managed to turn it into a stunning golden marigold for the Night Sweats Bourbon bottle.
The spirit itself is made from yellow, blue, and red corn, as well as millet and roasted barley, 70 percent of which comes from Block’s segregated land on a family farm in Missouri. “Yellow corn will give it that classic bourbon sweetness,” Weaver explains. “The red corn will add some peppery notes and some depth and complexity, and the blue corn will come across almost like a sweet tortilla.” Bourbon is fermented and aged in American white oak barrels for at least two years; Bottled at 47.5 percent ABV.
At 11:00 on September 18, 700 of the first 1,000 bottles produced will be on pre-sale. Blok’s website $82 per person with a limit of two per person. Pre-sale bottles will be available on October 30; all remaining bottles will be sold in person at Block in RiNo and $10 from each bottle sold will go directly to Project Marigold.
The distillery is working to expand the production and distribution of the spirit and hopes to eventually offer Night Sweats Bourbon throughout the state. A four-year version will be released in 2022.
“Giving back to the community is not only an obligation, it should be a pleasure and a privilege to give back to our community, and it feels that way,” Rateliff says.