CNO 2.0 Meeting Recap 8/19/21: Freedom Whiskey Co., Zach Hollingsworth, the founder of Freedom Whiskey Co

CNO 2.0 Venue and Details

The venue for tonight’s CNO 2.0 meeting was Nelly’s Taste of Bolivia at 79 S. Main St Centerville, Ohio. Thank you to the owner of Nelly’s, Rafael Santillan, and his fine team for the great food and the space.

There was a 50/50 drawing won by Brian Nicholas.

There were 24 people at the meeting (20 members and 4 guests).

Avenue of Flags Needs Your Help

Tom Novak, the chair of Avenue of Flags, told the group about one of our major fundraisers. Flags are delivered for Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, Labor Day and Veterans Day.

As of now, there are 3251 flags to be deployed for Labor Day.  Flag delivery is now broken into 85 routes.  Some routes are small with just a street to be serviced, but the largest route serviced by Mike Bevis and Donna Huss is now at 217 flags.

The program needs many more volunteers to sign up.

For each flag holiday, we depend on 140-160 volunteers including the Blue Star mothers, VFW,  CHS wrestling team, and many neighborhood volunteers.  Most needed are volunteers with “flag vehicles” such as SUVs or pickup trucks.

Additional volunteers should contact Tom Novak.

Thanks for your support.

Community Events

  • 8/28/2021, the annual Fishing Derby will be held at RecPlex

Zach Hollingsworth from Freedom Whiskey

Greg Fay introduced Zach Hollingsworth, the founder of Freedom Whiskey Co. The website is HaveaShotofFreedom.com.

Before Launching the Freedom Whiskey Co.

Hollingsworth grew up in Wilmington, Ohio. In 2004, he was recruited and played basketball for Capital University in Bexley, Ohio. In 2008 he earned a bachelor’s degree in education for history from the university. He said he chose this major because it required the least amount of math.

During his junior year of college, Hollingsworth attended a country music concert and Marines were brought on stage. He was inspired and joined the Marine Corp after graduating. He did multiple tours in Afghanistan as a Marine Corps Captain from 2008-2012. He switched to the Reserves in 2012.

Hollingsworth’s former coach at Capital University heard about a job at Centerville High School to coach basketball. Hollingsworth was concerned because he would also have to teach a history class and he had let his teaching certificate expire. He made a phone call to the State Board of Education and told a nice lady his story and she was able to reactivate his certificate for three years. He taught and coached at CHS for 3 school years (2012-2015). His last day in the Marine Corp was on a Friday and his first day of teaching was the following Monday.

In 2016 Hollingsworth earned an M.B.A. in Finance from Ohio University. This is a big shift from trying to avoid math with his undergrad degree.

After teaching he wanted to do something related to the military again. Hollingsworth is currently a contract specialist at WPAFB where he works on the fighter aircraft F-22 Raptor and soon the F-15 Eagle.

Where the Name Freedom Whiskey Co. Comes From

While serving in Afghanistan in the Marine Corps, Hollingsworth fired 650 rounds of artillery into Pakistan. He and his fellow Marines went up to 69 days without a shower. When they arrived at bases to “borrow” some supplies of food and drink, they were teased about how everyone knew they were coming because of the smell.

While having some shots with a friend, they started saying, “Let’s have another shot of freedom.” The phrase stuck with them. They would go around saying, “Have a freedom hamburger”, or “Have a freedom hot dog”. They realized “Freedom” would make a great brand.

Hollingsworth did not know how to make whiskey, but he had a friend in California who did. Hollingsworth designed a logo and named the company Freedom Whiskey Co.

Mission

Freedom Whiskey Co. strives to provide the highest quality bourbon in America while building a family of passionate whiskey drinkers. The company is dedicated to creating whiskey that honors the heritage of our country while providing employment opportunities to veterans who have served or are currently serving, their family members and those who seek to make a difference in general.

Sales History of Freedom Whiskey

Sales of Freedom Whiskey began in 2017. It was exclusively sold online. There were 12 states that allowed online sales of liquor. In 2017, Zach thought at first he was doing well, but he realized he needed distribution. He had been told no by everyone, but he was persistent. He travels 15 days every month He has been able to get into stores in various states. Currently, 3000 stores nationwide sell Freedom Whiskey Co. products.

Freedom Whiskey Co. survived the pandemic because they were not dependent on sales to bars. Many other whiskey brands have gone out of business because the pandemic eliminated their sales. Freedom Whiskey Co. has had greater success because the pandemic has caused liquor store sales to soar.

The country music industry loves his products. Freedom Whiskey Co. sponsors several country music bands.

Sales of Freedom Whiskey for 2021 are on pace to sell $750,000.00.

Donations to Veterans

Freedom Whiskey Co. is profitable, but Hollingsworth has not taken any of the profits. Zach gives away the profits to help veterans and he wants his company to do well so he can give more. Interesting to note is that Hollingsworth no longer drinks alcohol.

One of the organizations he supports is Fisher House Foundation. He said this is a great place to donate money or to volunteer time. They are like the Ronald McDonald House for the military. Fisher Houses provide military families housing close to a loved one in the hospital for an illness, disease or injury.

Freedom Whiskey Co. holds a Veterans Day Celebration each year. Check their website for 2021 details as November approaches. The last party held was in 2019, since 2020 was cancelled because of COVID. He believes it will be held in Miamisburg in 2021. A ticket for $50 will get you admitted and it includes an open bar, catered food and live music. In 2019 the best part of it all was every penny of the $6,600 raised was reserved for Team Red, White, and Blue and their selfless dedication to Veterans and their communities.

Products and Production

Freedom Whiskey Co. products are handcrafted in America. Every bottle has a dog tag on it, with a cool slogan and bottling date. Their plan is that all parts of the product are produced in America. Unfortunately, there is a huge shortage of bottles made in America. Hollingsworth said this is because too many people are not wanting to work right now. The bottles are currently sourced overseas, but they will get them from America again when possible.

Products:

Have A Shot Of Freedom Bourbon Whiskey, crafted following a mash bill of 75% Corn / 21% Rye / 4% Barley. Aged in new charred oak barrels.

Have a Shot of Freedom Cask Strength Bourbon Whiskey, a 120-proof version of their original bourbon.

Freedom Barrel Rested Gin, Floral accents from Juniper, Coriander, Lavender, Lemon Peel, Chamomile, and Calendula flower all blend together perfectly as they’re mellowed out by a 6-month resting process in Freedom Bourbon Barrels.

Uptown Centerville Plans

The City of Centerville is in the process of redesigning Uptown Centerville. This plan now includes Freedom Whiskey Co. Freedom Whiskey Co. is going to construct a 12,000 square foot facility in Uptown Centerville on Franklin Rd West of S.R 48. It will be a distillery, bar and event center. There will be a VIP section for members.

Construction is currently delayed and there is no firm date to begin construction because of the cost of building materials. Steel is back ordered for 5 months. The price of steel and wood is currently out of site. The goal is to be open in June 2022.

To coincide with the Americana Festival each year, the Freedom Whiskey Co. plans to have a free concert performance by a major country music band.

When the Centerville distillery is open you can get a custom dog tag and fill your own bottle.

Thank You Zach Hollingsworth

Thank you, Zach Hollingsworth, for speaking at tonight’s CNO 2.0 meeting and telling the story of the path that led to starting the Freedom Whiskey Co.

About CNO 2.0

Greg Fay, the chair of CNO 2.0, said he was so thankful for all the guests and members that came to tonight’s meeting.

Greg Fay said that CNO 2.0 is a club within a club of the Centerville Noon Optimist club. CNO (and CNO 2.0) is a world class service organization. Being a member of either club allows their members all the same opportunities to participate in fundraising and club activities. CNO 2.0 was created about 5 years ago and is very much a part of the 53-year-old Centerville Noon Optimist Club. CNO has given away over $2 million during its history. CNO is a group of like-minded members that are passionate about helping youth and having fun in the process.

The speaker at each 2.0 meeting is someone with a local business success story.

Annual Fundraisers

  • Christmas Tree Lot
  • Avenue of Flags
  • Golf Outing

Major Activities for the youth in our community

  • Build-a-Bear at Children’s Hospital, 3 times a year
  • Fishing Derby in June
  • Kid’s day in the park in August
  • Easter Egg Hunt