It started with a dream.
Harvey Jackson, the founder of “Grit & Gather,” believes in the power of community. He’s of the belief that meeting with like-minded individuals (or even non-like-minded individuals) over a meal or a cup of coffee — or, in this case, a glass of whiskey and a cigar — is what “the good life” is made of.
Because of this, he has created Grit & Gather, a whiskey tasting festival designed to cultivate relationships and highlight local distilleries.
“Grit & Gather came about from, basically, a dream that I’ve had for many years,” Jackson stated. “Whiskey and cigars are two of my big passions. I would gather my friends and family around for a cigar or a whiskey and we would just talk.”
It’s a simple premise, really. But some would argue that it’s exactly what people are missing these days — an opportunity to break bread or toast glasses; to talk and, maybe even more importantly, to listen.
Jackson said that, in recent years, he began studying whiskey and what actually goes into the production of it. Eventually, that love for whiskey and fellowship gave way to the first “Whiskey Fest,” which he held in his hometown of Gillette, Wyoming. That was in November 2022 and, Jackson said, it was a big success.
“Long story short, it was an awesome night,” Jackson shared. “We sold out; 350 tickets. We provided transportation and buses. We worked with industry reps, and we had a mobile liquor store that allowed guests to buy the whiskey that they tried on the spot.”
After the success of the Gillette Whiskey Fest, Jackson wants to bring Grit & Gather to Casper, which is exactly what he’s doing.
On Saturday, June 3, Grit & Gather is, well, gathering at Wyoming’s Rib and Chop House in Casper. Beginning at 6 p.m., whiskey enthusiasts can come together to sample an incredible array of local, national and even international spirits. Wyoming-based whiskeys will be on full display, as the event will feature bottles from the following distilleries, among others:
- Backwards Distilling Company
- Wyoming Whiskey
- Pine Bluffs Distilling
- Arcola Whiskey
- Brush Creek Distillery
- Single Track Distilling Co.
- Cowboy Country Distilling
- Just LeDoux It
- Gannet Peak Whiskey Co.
- Kyodie Whiskey
- Southern Glazers Wine & Spirit of Wyoming
“As for the subject of the hour, we’ll have well over a hundred bottles of different whiskeys from scotches, ryes, blends and more,” Jackson revealed. “There’ll be an emphasis on the 10 distilleries that we have around the state. They’ll all be there. And what it ends up being for these folks is a really good opportunity to genuinely connect with potential fans of their whiskeys that they’re promoting. So it’s a really good synergy between distilleries and tasters.”
In addition to the whiskey tasting, Rib and Chop House will also be serving up a selection of sweet and savory charcuterie that will perfectly pair with the various whiskeys being offered. VIP ticket holders will also have exclusive access to gourmet food pairings as well as an oyster bar.
Speaking of VIP ticket holders, those who purchase the VIP package receive access to rare and hard-to-find whiskey samplings, premium cuisine, one-hour early access and more.
In addition to general admission and VIP tickets, Grit & Gather is also offering a “Plus-One, Non-Sample” ticket for those who want to attend the event but don’t actually plan on sampling the whiskeys. They’ll have access to a cash bar if they want, but it’s also an opportunity for those who choose not to drink at all.
The event begins at 6 p.m. for general ticket holders, but VIPs are allowed in at 5 p.m., giving them a head start on a night that promises to be something special.
However, it’s not the whiskey that will make this night special (though, to be fair, it definitely helps); it’s the people.
“Our big mission behind Grit & Gather is this,” Jackson said. “‘Grit’ is a nod to my Wyoming roots, because I’m from Wyoming; I love Wyoming. And I just feel like the word ‘grit’ is something, in my mind, that describes Wyomingites. And then ‘gather’ is just my nod to how important it is that we gather as community members around subjects that we’re passionate about. So, for me, it’s trying to create more community.”
That’s something that Jackson accomplished in Gillette, and he’s hoping to see the same results in Casper this summer. But he wouldn’t be able to do it without the various partnerships with community businesses.
One of the biggest partnerships of Grit & Gather is with the Wyoming Distillers Guild.
“I refer to them as kind of like the Chamber of Commerce for distilled spirits in Wyoming,” Jackson said. “They’re kind of like that. They want to align with cool events and bring their members to these events to showcase what they’ve created.”
Grit & Gather has created a meaningful, fruitful partnership with the Wyoming Distillers Guild, as well as many other Wyoming-based businesses. The event itself is being sponsored by Visit Casper, Natrona County Safe Ride, Wyoming’s Rib and Chop House, Liquor Shed, and The Cigar Box.
“This event wouldn’t be possible without these sponsors,” Jackson said. “With this idea, I want to partner with people that make sense. Liquor stores make sense. Visit Casper, the tourism boards — those are the people I want to work with. The valuable contributions of our partners and sponsors have been instrumental in making this dream a reality.”
Tickets are on sale now, with special early-bird pricing available. Tickets are $99 for General Admission and $149 for VIP. Non-Sampling tickets are $49.
The event is happening on Saturday, June 3 and it begins at 5 p.m. for VIP tickets holders, and 6 p.m. for General Admission.
Following the event, an after-party will be held at Black Tooth Brewery which will allow for a post-whiskey cigar celebration as well. Jackson stated that he hopes that this event will be the first of many. More than anything, he hopes that it will serve as an opportunity for people to come together. He hopes that they will laugh, that they will toast, that they will make a memory or two.
In short, he hopes that they will, well, gather.
For more information, including a list of sponsors and distilleries, or to purchase tickets, visit the Grit and Gather website.
PAID FOR BY GRIT & GATHER
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