UPDATE: Surviving bourbon from Mayfield restaurant goes for $69,000

Overall bourbon auction raises more than $3 million, total still climbing

UPDATE POSTED 2:30 P.M. DEC. 22, 2021

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ/Press Release) – The “Mayfield Collection” of 14 bottles recovered intact from Carr’s Steakhouse in downtown Mayfield, Ky., which was destroyed in the EF 4 tornado, sold for $69,475. Nearly all of the bottle’s brands are matching the sales prices with half of the money going to Carr’s for its 29 employees – with a combined 22 children – many of whom are now homeless.

Overall, the Kentucky Bourbon Benefit auction of rare bottles, private barrel selections and more raised more than $3 million to help ease suffering and restore hope for residents of Western Kentucky whose communities were ravaged by a tornado outbreak earlier this month.

The Kentucky Distillers’ Association partnered with the Bourbon Crusaders charitable organization and Bourbon curator Fred Minnick on the six-day auction. The fundraiser culminated with a live-streamed finale Tuesday night which alone raised $1.77 million.

The total – which is expected to climb – was $3,429,203 as of mid-day Wednesday.

The www.kybourbonbenefit.com auction site is still accepting donations and businesses continue to match funds. Proceeds from the benefit are going to the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund. The state-operated fund assesses no fees on donations.

Angel’s Envy, Beam Suntory, Brown-Forman, Diageo, Four Roses, Heaven Hill, Michter’s, Rabbit Hole and Wild Turkey also donated in excess of $1 million directly to the state’s fund, and Beam Suntory gave an additional $500,000 to the American Red Cross.

Those donations bring the distilling industry’s total impact to nearly $5 million.

“The outpouring of support, care and love for Western Kentuckians is truly unparalleled in the history of Bourbon. We are forever grateful for the generosity of distillers, donors and bidders,” KDA President Eric Gregory said.

“Through this event, thousands of participants are helping lift spirits across Western Kentucky, provide new hope and create momentum for the years of rebuilding and healing ahead,” Gregory said. “This is the spirit of Kentucky shining through.”

Minnick, a best-selling author and Bourbon expert, said the auction’s success demonstrates the fabric of Kentuckians and Americans. “In life, you get a handful of moments you hope to relive in your final moments. Tuesday night was one for me,” he said.

“The only comparison I have for what happened here was going to Iraq as a soldier and experiencing the full depth of the American military coming together under one mission. My team worked with two highly professional organizations in the Bourbon Crusaders and the KDA.

“While different than my Army days, I believe the Kentucky Bourbon Benefit represented the best of America. At the core of who we are, we are a people who want to help our neighbor. And in Kentucky, our neighbors needed our help,” Minnick said.

“The response was tremendous, far beyond our wildest hopes,” said R.J. Sargent, founder of the Bourbon Crusaders. “Our members pulled out treasures from their collections and the community responded enthusiastically.

“You can see it in the auction results. These rarities attracted lots of bids, and every dollar raised is going to be used to help Kentucky.”

A total of 5,158 bidders vied for the benefit auction’s 429 lots. Bidders came from all 50 states, Washington D.C. and as far away as Puerto Rico and Guam. Kentucky, by far, led the way with nearly 1,000 registered bidders, followed by Ohio (400), Florida (250) and Texas (240).

Highlights included:

  • A 19-year-old barrel of Willett sold for $401,001 – which Minnick said was the highest ever paid for a full barrel of Bourbon. The Bardstown distillery then donated another barrel which was matched by the second-place bidder for a total of $802,002 raised.
  • A private barrel selection at Four Roses Distillery, aged 17 to 24 years, sold for $278,000. The Lawrenceburg distillery also matched the barrel to its second-place bidder, totaling $556,000. With other rare donated bottles, Four Rose’s final tally was $569,920.
  • Willett also had the third best-selling item: an 8-year-old barrel that sold for $143,000. Again, the distillery donated a matching barrel to the losing bidder, raising a total of $286,000 for that lot – and nearly $1.1 total from Willett’s donations alone.
  • A barrel experience of cask-strength Angel’s Envy went for $130,000. An Elijah Craig barrel-strength barrel sold for $77,000. Wild Turkey and New Riff private barrels sold for $45,000 and $43,000 respectively.
  • Nevada-based Distillery Smoke Wagon’s lot of 60 bottles of Rare and Limited Special Batch Small Batch Bourbon sold for $45,000. Smoke Wagon donated another set of 60 bottles and the runner-up matched at $45,000. Smoke Wagon also had two separate donations that went for $26,000 and $6,650, bringing the company’s tally to $122,650.
  • An exclusive tour and tasting experience at Castle & Key in Woodford County – combined with a private suite at Keeneland for the distillery’s annual Bourbon Stakes in 2022 – sold for $44,000.
  • A hand-engraved decanter of 23-year Old Rip Van Winkle, one of only 1,200 released in 2009 and donated by Preston Van Winkle, went for $44,000.
  • Private barrel experiences at Maker’s Mark, Old Forester, Boone County, Woodford Reserve and Jefferson’s Ocean, which donated a 300-bottle lot, all sold between $30,000 and $35,000 each.
  • The “Mayfield Collection” of 14 bottles recovered intact from Carr’s Steakhouse in downtown Mayfield, Ky., which was destroyed in the EF 4 tornado, sold for $69,475. Nearly all of the bottle’s brands are matching the sales prices with half of the money going to Carr’s for its 29 employees – with a combined 22 children – many of whom are now homeless.

The total amount raised from the Kentucky Bourbon Benefit will continue to climb throughout the coming days as final results are tallied, including matches from Vendome Copper & Brass, Independent Stave Company and the Kentucky Travel Industry Association (KTIA).

Auctioneer Bill Menish, founder of Menish Productions in Louisville, Ky., donated his services for the live auction and waived all of his fees. Westport Whiskey and Wine, the benefit’s official retail partner, is assisting with fulfillment.


FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ/Press Release) – The owners of Carr’s Steakhouse that once stood in downtown Mayfield have donated 14 bottles of premium Bourbon they recovered from the rubble of their family business to the Bourbon auction for survivors of the tornadoes that ravaged Western Kentucky.

The battered bottles are listed in 12 separate lots (#412-423) at www.kybourbonbenefit.com, each one signed and dated by restaurant owner Daniel Carr for authentication. Additionally, several distillers volunteered to match their brand’s ending sales price up to $10,000.

“It is beyond belief that these bottles survived the devastation,” said Eric Gregory, president of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, which partnered with the Bourbon Crusaders charitable organization and Bourbon curator Fred Minnick on the six-day benefit that ends Tuesday night.

“It was a powerful and emotional moment when Daniel offered these emblems of resilience to the cause,” Gregory said. “Their business is gone. Their town is gone. But their first thought was to donate them to make a difference for families and communities across Western Kentucky.

“That’s the indomitable spirit of Kentucky, and we are grateful for their generosity and support.”

Carr said, “I’m just trying to do my part, help as many people as possible, and this just seemed like a way to amplify the impact we could have on our community during this time of need.”

The donated bottles are:

  • Angel’s Envy
  • Blue Run High Rye (two)
  • Bardstown Bourbon Co. Discovery Series
  • Duke Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  • Ingram River Aged Flagship Bourbon
  • Knob Creek 15-year
  • Maker’s Mark
  • Maker’s Mark 75th Anniversary Keeneland edition (2011)
  • Russell’s Reserve 10-year (two)
  • Russell’s Reserve 10-year signed by Master Distiller Jimmy Russell (2004)
  • W.B. Saffell (produced by Wild Turkey)
  • Woodford Reserve 135th Kentucky Derby commemorative (2009)

Little is left of Carr’s Steakhouse, a popular hotspot that opened in 2011 and earned the National Restaurant Association’s 2016 “Restaurant Neighbor Award” for outstanding community service and philanthropy. Carr, 37, is currently chairman of the Kentucky Restaurant Association’s Board.

Carr said he worked all day on Dec. 10 and left the restaurant around 8:45 p.m. just as a packed crowd was beginning to wind down. But when he got home, his wife, Amanda, was monitoring the storms on TV and told him a tornado was bearing down on Mayfield.

“I called the restaurant and told my brother, David, to get everyone out of there,” he said. Daniel’s 17-year-old son, Israel, was working that night too, along with his wife’s two brothers and her father who was helping cook and wash dishes. Everyone escaped safely.

“It was just a pile of bricks and wood less than 10 minutes later,” Daniel Carr said. “No one would have survived.”

The next day, they salvaged the 14 dirty and dust-covered bottles as they searched through the ruins for the restaurant’s cash drawer to pay their 29 employees who have a combined 22 children. Many lost their homes or all their possessions. All are now unemployed.

They’ve also started an online fundraiser for their workers.

“We want to help show them there is hope in these devastating times,” wrote Daniel’s wife, Amanda Carr, on the gofundme.com page. “We are a family and we are sticking together through this.”

Minnick, a best-selling author and expert on all things Bourbon, said, “If your heart isn’t moved by the Carr’s Steakhouse donations, you’re not human. To lose so much and still turn quickly to help your neighbors, employees and friends shows the integrity of Daniel Carr and his family.

“I know one day we will once again sit down to both a thick, juicy steak at Carr’s and a pour of good Kentucky Bourbon. Part of the rebuilding process is thinking years from now, and I cannot wait to host bourbon dinners at Carr’s and show the world the best of Kentucky.”

Gregory said the Carr family’s generosity struck a chord with Kentucky distillers, who are known for helping each other during times of crisis. “It’s our duty as a signature industry to help our fellow Kentuckians.

“We were humbled by the Carr’s donation and offer our sincere thanks. Their outstanding contribution amid the chaos of loss adds momentum to the regrowth, healing and long-term vitality of Mayfield and Western Kentucky for the years ahead.”

The Kentucky Bourbon Benefit so far has raised $1.7 million, with all proceeds going to the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund. The silent auction ends Tuesday, Dec. 21, at 10 p.m. A live-streamed auction of the top 15 items will be held from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Dec. 21.

Seven distillers representing 12 of the 14 bottles are matching the ending auction price of their lots up to $10,000: Angel’s Envy, Blue Run Spirits, Brown-Forman, Duke Spirits, Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark and Wild Turkey.

Independent Stave Company also is matching the vintage 2004 Russell’s Reserve, autographed by Wild Turkey’s Hall of Fame Master Distiller Jimmy Russell, up to $10,000. Ingram River Aged is matching its bottle up to $5,000.

Maker’s Mark also is offering the winning bidder of its Keeneland bottle a private distillery tour on April 15, followed by an exclusive afternoon at the historic race course for a group of eight to watch the annual running of the Grade I Stakes Maker’s Mark Mile.

The guests will receive a behind-the-scenes tour of Keeneland and enjoy an afternoon of racing from a private suite and a complete set of hand-signed 2022 Keeneland commemorative bottles. The winning bidder of the second Maker’s Mark bottle also will receive a private distillery tour.

Angel’s Envy also is offering a private tour of its downtown Louisville distillery to the winning bidder of its recovered bottle, along with suite tickets at the YUM Center for a University of Louisville basketball game.

Brown-Forman Master Distiller Chris Morris is adding a private tour of the historic Woodford Reserve Distillery and will personally take the winner of its Kentucky Derby bottle and five friends to dinner at Matt Winn’s steakhouse at Churchill Downs.

And Duke Spirits is including one bottle of everything it producers, signs by the founders Chris Radomski and Ethan Wayne: Duke 88 Kentucky Bourbon, Duke Grand Cru 110 Bourbon, Duke double barrel rye, Duke Grand Cru Reposado, Duke Grand Cru extra anejo, Duke Commemorative 6-year extra anejo and Duke Napa Valley 24-year Brandy.

Brian Haara, Bourbon Crusader member and Bourbon author, added, “The Carr family is an inspiration and they embody the resilience and strength of Kentuckians, along with the outpouring of generosity among our donors for the Kentucky Bourbon Benefit.

“Bourbon has proved itself an economic lifeblood throughout Kentucky’s history. In donating these bottles — and demonstrating a community-first mindset — the Carr family and distillers, donors and bidders are advancing that legacy and lighting the way ahead for years to come.”

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