David Steele and Jacob Dawson co-founded the Bourbon Society of Baton Rouge over four years ago as a way to unite the Baton Rouge community over a shared love of—you guessed it—bourbon.
Steele says he has always enjoyed whiskey but didn’t truly get into it until about seven years ago. He began researching more about bourbon and whiskey until he got inspired watching a documentary that mentioned the Bourbon Society of Los Angeles. He immediately texted Dawson and together they founded the Bourbon Society of Baton Rouge.
“We are about bourbon, but first and foremost, we are a community,” Steele said. “We view bourbon as the equalizer that brings everyone together. We have people from all walks of life, all shapes and forms, and we all get together for this common goal. The common theme is bourbon.”
There are currently over 180 members of the Bourbon Society of Baton Rouge. To join, members must fill out the online application and pay their $50 of annual dues before officially becoming members. Members enjoy perks such as 20% off at Hayride Scandal, 15% off at Olive or Twist and more.
There are events every month as well as weekly meetings every Monday at The Lost Cove. Nothing is obligatory, but Steele hopes that members are encouraged to get involved with events and meetings offered by the organization. Members also get to participate in any Bourbon Society of Baton Rouge raffles.
Steele encourages those who are interested to stop by a meeting or event and get to know the society and all the things it can teach you about whiskey and bourbon.
“We all have this equal thread which is bourbon,” Steele said. “We decided to build a community around it, and we’ve used it to try to do good.”
The Bourbon Society of Baton Rouge believes it’s important to try to give back to the local community. They are currently organizing a charity drive for the West Baton Rouge YMCA to raise a goal of $1,000. They also host a Toys for Tots drive every year around Christmas.
“Our mission statement is ‘To share the bourbon culture and connect local bourbon enthusiasts for the enjoyment of our members and the betterment of the Greater Baton Rouge area,’” Steele said. “We want to get together, enjoy each other’s company and enjoy a glass of bourbon in the process.”
For bourbon enthusiasts, giving back to the culture and community of south Louisiana is giving back to the culture that gave them bourbon. For Steele, bourbon is engrained in our culture (think Bourbon Street), and he hopes to support the city and charities through a shared love of bourbon.
“Through bourbon, we can do great things,” Steele said.