But what you can do for your fellow man
By Francine Cohen

The spirits business is a fun one; full of long nights out pressing flesh and selling (and sampling) libations. And it’s one of responsibility. Sounds almost like politics.

Funny we should mention politics because there’s a lot of politicking going on in Wisconsin these days. And a lot of spirits production too at Death’s Door. Sometimes the two intersect and, when that happens, when cocktails meet politics, something has to give.

Every once in a while you have to put down your cocktail and lift your voice in honor of something bigger than that 3 oz. coupe and, in honor of Presidents’ Day we’d like to shine a light on one brand that understands that responsibility and knows life is more important than selling yet another bottle.

Here’s how Death’s Door Founder Brian Ellison is addressing Wisconsin’s current labor strife and balancing the realities of running a business with ethics.

Dear Friends,

At Death’s Door Spirits, we like having a good time- make no mistake. We’re passionate people who enjoy doing well and doing good- our efforts help support hard working farmers, truckers, malt facility employees and employees at the distillery and office. We had scheduled events for this weekend to celebrate our efforts and to share a good time with the people that help make being in this business and running this company so great.

First, the weather was not cooperating- the ice is too unstable and dangerous to send hundreds of people out on to fish its waters. Now, we are faced with a larger force: the act of protest that is forcing us to cancel our scavenger hunt activities that are planned for today in Madison.

My encouragement, if you are coming to Madison, is to join in the marches and protests that are going on at the Capitol Square. Whether you are in favor of unions or not (and I respect your views either way), the manner and force in which an elected official, whose job it is to ensure our state remain viable and functioning, has pushed it into chaos is shameful and reprehensible.

My decision to cancel the Death’s Door Scavenger hunt is not a political statement; you can take issue on either side. It is a statement of respect for those that are part of this process and feel that their voices need to be heard. Holding a superficial cocktail event and scavenger hunt amidst this larger activity would be disruptive and disrespectful. I will personally be at Merchant from 1pm until 3pm today to meet people and explain the situation to those who don’t get this message and still show up.

Thank you for your understanding and as always for your support and enthusiasm for our products.

Brian Ellison