The Heart Behind the Craft: Hotel Tango Distillery

The Heart Behind the Craft:



Hotel Tango Distillery


Pride and dedication are values humans appreciate. The military survives by nurturing these qualities to their fullest within the individuals who choose to devote their lives to the freedom we all appreciate and sometimes take for granted.

Bourbon is something we can all appreciate, and rarely take for granted. Whether we’re sharing a single-rock toast to a fallen comrade/relative/friend, or a cocktail toast to celebrate the birth of another, bourbon is a thing we all share. It should be smooth, flavorful, and have heart. 

Hotel Tango Distillery is a poster child for what bourbon can be. The September 11th attacks upon our homeland and its communities hit us all in the gut. The falling of those iconic twin towers took from everyone. Some had more stolen than they would have liked, so they decided to do something about it. Some of them decided to fight for us.

Travis Barnes is one of those men. He enlisted in the Marines April 12th, 2002. This was the date Hotel Tango: Reserve Bourbon was conceived—though he would not become aware of the conception until 2012. Ten years of challenges were needed for this realization. 

Travis spent this time honing a dedication to excellence which began with bootcamp in California. He learned the value of dependability when he moved on from bootcamp and joined the First Reconnaissance Battalion Company A, First Platoon – Iraq. 

Travis reinforced his drive to excel on his path up to Team Leader in Charlie Company, Second Platoon; and then to Sergeant. He developed and groomed his “think on the fly” skills while dodging IED’s and survived it all with a continued drive to excel despite PTSD and a brain injury. Law school provided the next set of opportunities to hone his strive for excellence.

Humans excel best with partners. Travis found his partner at law school before he graduated in 2012. In order to be the best it helps to understand all of the obstacles in front of you. Travis studied the law and emerged with a path to success. He also came out with a partner to push him there. They married in August of 2012.

The sweet sharable baby we all enjoy was conceived in 2002. Its conception was acknowledged by Hillary (Hotel) and Travis (Tango) in 2012. The amazing birth of Hotel Tango Distillery graced the world with its presence in 2014. Hillary and Travis have nurtured its perfection ever since. 

Today, this smooth sharable bourbon from the first ever American combat-disabled veteran-owned distillery is available in its rich glory for an affordable $11 a pour at Punch! Bar & Lounge in Champaign, IL. Salute your fellow troops in life, and celebrate the lessons you learn along the way, while you enjoy your Hotel Tango Reserve Bourbon experience.

You will find a complete list of Hotel Tango spirits here. This list includes Pride –– an 80 proof grain distilled vodka which is sold to support The Modern Military Association of America. A portion of each bottle of Pride 2021 sold will help assist the mission of our nation’s largest organization of LGBTQ service members, military spouses, veterans, their families and allies.

Visit any one of three Hotel Tango tasting rooms found in Indiana. Or, check out their farm in Indianapolis. You can even book your next big celebration at their event space. Click here to check out their story, or here to read an interview with Travis.

Click here to download Sircles and recommend your favorite place to enjoy Hotel Tango Spirits

I wander, scribble, doodle, and rant. The world is full of experiences and I aspire to enjoy them all. The life of a bartender is an interesting one. The life of a writer is a goal. Let us see if the two can become one.

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