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Houston distillery pairs with Chris Shepherd for charitable bourbon


A Houston distillery has teamed up with one of the city’s top chefs to create a new bourbon with a charitable mission. 8th Wonder has introduced Hammer Down, a new bourbon created in consultation with James Beard Award winner Chris Shepherd and the Underbelly Hospitality team.


Created by 8th Wonder co-founder and distiller Aaron Corsi from a five-year old Kentucky bourbon and a blend sourced from Indiana, Hammer Down has notes of caramel, vanilla, honey, and toasted butterscotch, according to a press release. Bourbon drinkers will find the spirit available for purchase at Spec’s in Midtown, select Total Wine locations, and other area liquor stores. It will also be poured at Underbelly Hospitality concepts and other establishments in the Houston area.


Two dollars of every bottle sold will be donated to the Southern Smoke Foundation, the non-profit organization Shepherd founded that provides cash assistance to hospitality workers in crisis situations. Since 2015, Southern Smoke has distributed over $9.5 million to individuals and organizations that assist people in the food and beverage industry, including more than $6 million between March 2020 and March 2021. 


“By ordering or buying Hammer Down, you’re maintaining the support system and safety net that Southern Smoke is nationwide,” Shepherd said. “We hope this bourbon can be a long-term, sustainable revenue source for Southern Smoke to ensure we can continue to take care of our own — anyone in the food and beverage industry around the country who is in crisis. That’s what we’re here for.”


Hammer Down is Southern Smoke’s second charity collaboration beverage. Karbach Brewing contributes $0.25 per case equivalent of Horseshoe Pilsner sold to the organization. 


“Create a tasty bourbon that supports the hospitality industry by way of Southern Smoke? For all of us at 8th Wonder, it was a no brainer,” 8th Wonder co-founder and president Ryan Soroka added. “We drank a lot of bourbon, and we had a lot of laughs. We can’t wait for everyone else to experience Hammer Down.”




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