Jamar Mack has bourbon in his bones. He recalls “smelling mash being fermented before I even knew what bourbon was,” while growing up three blocks from Brown-Forman’s Louisville headquarters. He’s since developed a passion for Kentucky’s famed spirit, continuing the tradition of his grandfather who “drank Early Times ‘til the day he died.”
In 2017, Mack and a couple of fellow bourbon lovers banded together to form Kentucky’s Original Black Bourbon Enthusiasts (KOBBE), looking to fulfill a need: In Kentucky at the time, “there was no group that was truly welcoming people of color,” Mack explains. KOBBE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing African American participation in the bourbon community. Their philanthropic endeavors include giving back to low-income Louisville communities and raising funds by auctioning prized bottles. The group’s stated mission—“Drink good bourbon, keep good company, do good deeds”—sums it up pithily.
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