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We are proud to help raise awareness for a local non-profit with the following mission: To empower and individually support people with developmental disabilities to live full lives as integral respected members of their community.

The non-profit is Onondaga Community Living, or OCL for short, and they’re located in my hometown of Syracuse, New York. OCL is one of 400 charities selected by Buffalo Trace to receive a bottle from the 6,000,000th barrel to help raise money to support their cause.

In June 1999, what is said to be the oldest continually operating distillery in the United States changed its name from the George T. Stagg Distillery to the Buffalo Trace Distillery. Two months later in August 1999, the company’s namesake bourbon, Buffalo Trace, was released for the first time.

But the history doesn’t start there. Buffalo Trace takes its name from a trail forged by migrating bison spanning Illinois, Indiana, and notably Kentucky. It would become a trail for those travelling by horse, and eventually parts of it became a road. Buffalo Trace Distillery traces roots back to the late 1700s, and it’s believed distillation on the property began as early as 1775.

While some of the exact history is murky, what cannot be denied is the involvement of many of bourbons biggest names in the history of the distillery. Albert B. Blanton, Elmer T. Lee, Colonel Edmund H. Taylor, Jr., and  George T. Stagg are easily recognizable names today, but also people who had a historical impact on the distillery.

Officially founded in 1869(70) by Colonel Edmund H. Taylor, Jr., he would name it the Old Fire (Fashioned) Copper distillery, or O.F.C. for short. Eight years later it was purchased by George T. Stagg, while Taylor would continue to oversee operations. Sadly, only four years later, lightning struck the distillery burning it to the ground. It was rebuilt on a larger scale, and expansion was underway. Later, in 1904, it was re-named the George T. Stagg Distillery.

By this point, Albert P. Blanton had been working there for seven years. He continued to work his way up the ranks, and 17 years later became President of the Distillery in 1921. A difficult time to be in the distillation business, this was just after the 18th Amendment establishing Prohibition had been passed. The Distillery received a permit to bottle medicinal whiskey throughout this time, and was also allowed to produce it from 1930 to 1933, when Prohibition would end. This drew some attention, and in 1929 the distillery was purchased by Schenley Distillers Corporation.

The end of Prohibition marks the beginning of counting barrels, and in 1942 the 1,000,000th barrel produced after Prohibition was produced. Seven years later Elmer T. Lee joined the distillery as a maintenance engineer. He rose through the ranks and eventually became master distiller.

In 1953, the distillery produced its 2,000,000th barrel. To store and honor it, Warehouse “V” was built - the world’s only single barrel warehouse that would age only that single barrel of bourbon.

In 1992, the Sazerac Company purchased the distillery, and remains the owner to this day. Renovations got underway, and upon their completion in 1999 the distillery was renamed the Buffalo Trace Distillery. Soon thereafter, their flagship brand, Buffalo Trace, was launched.

The 6,000,000th Barrel of Buffalo Trace

The 6,000,000th Barrel of Buffalo Trace had aged in Buffalo Trace’s single barrel warehouse, Warehouse “V” for 10 years and 11 months. It yielded a total of 400 375ml production bottles proofed to the standard 94 proof for the brand. Each comes in a bottle with a gold-colored, handwritten description on the front. The bottles are packaged in numbered hardwood cases with an etched glass face indicating the bottle number and brand information. Each includes a piece of one of the charred oak staves from the barrel, along with a brochure explaining more about the release. All of the available bottles were provided to non-profit organizations at no cost for the purpose of raising money for their causes. Read more about this release via the official website.

The Auction

OCL is seeking a generous donor who has not only a love for bourbon, but a compassion for helping people with disabilities.

Participate in the LIVE AUCTION HERE. Ends Sunday 11/17/2019 at 9:30PM ET

OCL provides a wide range of support services to people with disabilities. Their services include arranging suitable living accommodations, finding jobs, and assisting with higher education needs, to name just a few.

The proceeds from this bottle will go a long way towards helping extraordinary people live what many of us might think of as ordinary lives. OCL will set aside 100% of the net proceeds from the 6,000,000th barrel auction to a separate, already established fund. After qualifying for benefits, beneficiaries of the fund receive help where already established resources fall off. In its simplest form, the fund provides for basic things that enrich life but might not be considered absolutely necessary, thereby receiving no funding from other established and often government funded sources.

Past examples of how this fund has been used include the following:

  • In numerous cases OCL has used funds to provide assistance in paying veterinary bills for qualifying individuals that they could otherwise not afford, in many cases saving not only the hearts of their disabled owners, but the lives of their beloved pets.
  • Being confined to a wheelchair yet still on the move can be one in the same. OCL has replaced wheels for individuals who were determined to be on the move despite wheelchair confinement, wore them out faster than established services were willing to replace them, but lacked funds to replace them on their own.

  • Having been hit by a car, confined to a wheelchair, and left with limited resources, OCL funded a gym membership to help the qualifying beneficiary overcome this life-changing obstacle.

We covered OCL previously when they auctioned a bottle of O.F.C. Bourbon in 2017, which you can read more about here.


Other Ways You Can Help OCL


  • OCL accepts donations via their website, which can be found here.



  • If you live near the Syracuse area, the organization is always looking for volunteers. Contact them here to learn how you can help.  


  • If you don’t live near the Syracuse area you can still become a Community Ambassador. Learn more here.

Written By: BB Team

November 12, 2019
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