(JERSEY CITY, NJ) -- Eric LeGrand, former college football defensive tackle, now turned businessman and inspiration to all, is launching his first-ever whiskey brand, Eric LeGrand Kentucky Straight Bourbon. In 2010, Eric LeGrand’s life changed when he became paralyzed after a tackle while playing football for Rutgers University. Through his ongoing rehabilitation journey, Eric has been inspired to appreciate the finer things in life which led him to team up with spirits entrepreneur, Brian Axelrod to create a whiskey that can be enjoyed by all. The dynamic duo is also committed to supporting those living with and impacted by paralysis by finding the cure for spinal cord injuries. This motivated them to make the promise to donate $5.20 of every case sold of Eric LeGrand Bourbon to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.
“We are grateful for Eric’s long partnership with the Reeve Foundation and his dedication to carrying forward Christopher Reeve’s legacy and dreams for the spinal cord injury community – a world of empty wheelchairs,” said Colleen Coppla, Chief of Development at the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. “With resolute commitment to his passions, Eric has become a leading entrepreneur and we’re thrilled to be able to support and benefit from his ventures. Eric LeGrand Bourbon helps to achieve Eric’s goal of getting us to the endzone – cures for spinal cord injury and paralysis – and we couldn’t be more excited to be involved.”
The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by advancing innovative research and improving quality of life for individuals and families impacted by paralysis. To date, the LeGrand team has raised close to $2 million for spinal cord research.
“My recovery journey has mirrored that of my bourbon. Both take precision, patience, and trust in the process.” said Co-Founder Eric LeGrand. “Eric LeGrand Bourbon offers a way for those who are living with paralysis and those who are not impaired by it, to enjoy sipping on a quality bourbon, while coming together to support a foundation that gives back to anyone impacted by this condition.”
“Teaming up with Eric to create a product that gives back to those that have been impacted by paralysis has truly been such an eye-opening business endeavor,” said Co-Founder Brian Axelrod. “It feels good knowing that we have developed a high-quality bourbon that has the potential to change someone’s life.”
Eric LeGrand Bourbon is a Kentucky Straight Bourbon, distilled in Owensboro, Kentucky and bottled in Bardstown, Kentucky. The liquid is created with quality heartland grown corn, limestone purified water, the freshest rye and barley available. Aged no less than two years in perfectly charred oak barrels, this premier whiskey boasts a warm nose and a smooth crisp finish. Distributed by Allied Beverage Group, Eric LeGrand Bourbon is now available to purchase in 750ML bottles in the state of New Jersey, with New York, Kentucky, and additional states soon to follow.
Co-Founded by Eric LeGrand and Brian Axelrod, Eric LeGrand Bourbon is developed with choice heartland grown corn, limestone purified water, the freshest rye and barley available. Aged no less than two years in perfectly charred oak barrels, their premier whiskey boasts a warm nose and a smooth and crisp finish.
In October 2010, Rutgers University football star, Eric LeGrand, sustained a spinal cord injury at his C3 and C4 vertebrae during a fourth quarter play at MetLife Stadium. While the initial prognosis was grim, Eric demonstrated his titan strength by shattering all expectations for his recovery and rehabilitation. Eric harnessed the national spotlight he attracted from his injury to give back to the community and inspire those living with and impacted by paralysis to bELieve. Team LeGrand was launched in September 2013 as a fundraising arm for the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. Since its inception, Team LeGrand has raised well over two million dollars for the Reeve Foundation. During his time as a participant of the Reeve Foundation’s NeuroRecovery Network, he took part in a rigorous rehabilitation regime, including locomotor training, to re-teach his body how to walk and improve his quality of life. Eric has since regained movement in his shoulders and improvements to his overall health. From becoming an author, sports analyst for ESPN, Sirius, the Big Ten Network and Rutgers radio, to a much sought after motivational speaker, Eric has given a voice to the paralysis community to mobilize support for critical initiatives, policies and cutting-edge research. He has been recognized and received awards by Sports Illustrated, ESPY Awards, and the WWE Hall Of Fame. He also realized his NFL dream when his college coach and then Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach, Greg Schiano, signed him to a professional contract in 2012. In May 2014, Eric graduated from Rutgers University where he was an honored speaker at the commencement ceremony. Since his injury, Eric has shown the world that obstacles can be transformed into opportunities, and he will continue to drive his mission forward until he delivers on Christopher Reeve’s dream of a world with empty wheelchairs. To Eric, it is not a matter of if he walks again, but rather when. Additionally, he has extended his versatility by becoming a savvy entrepreneur. In 2019, he created his own clothing brand, Shop Fifty Two and in 2021, launched his own coffee brand, LeGrand Coffee House. In 2022, he co-founded a Rutgers collective entitled Knight Society with former Rutgers basketball player Geo Baker. Most recently, Eric has further extended his business portfolio by co-founding Eric LeGrand Bourbon.
Brian Axelrod is a fixture of the U.S wines & spirits industry, with more than 20 years working on the distribution and commercial side of some the most iconic spirits labels in the world. A true connector of people and brands, recently Brian brought his experience and talent together to partner with Conor McGregor and his team to launch Proper No. Twelve in all types of accounts across North America. In 2021 Proper No. Twelve was purchased by Becle, owners of Jose Cuervo, in a deal worth up to US $600 million. Before partnering with Team McGregor, Brian worked on D’USSE Cognac as the Brand Director and Commercial Director for Champagne Armand de Brignac for over 6 years alongside Jay-Z and Desire Perez.
The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research and improving the quality of life for individuals and families impacted by paralysis. By uniting the brightest minds in the field, they are working tirelessly to accelerate scientific discoveries across the field of spinal cord research by investing in labs across the globe. Additionally, through a cooperative agreement with the Administration for Community Living, the Reeve Foundation's National Paralysis Resource Center (NPRC) promotes the health, well-being, and independence of people living with paralysis, providing comprehensive information, resources, and referral services assisting over 100,000 individuals and families since its launch in 2002. The Reeve Foundation is committed to elevating our community's voices and needs to achieve greater representation and independence. They meet all 20 of the Better Business Bureau's standards for charity accountability and hold the BBB's Charity Seal.