Bulleit Bourbon is probably one of the trendiest Bourbons on the market, but hopefully not for long after the revelation that the family allegedly fired one of their own because she’s a lesbian. Hollis Bulleit, the daughter of Tom Bulleit who founded the brand, says the parent company, Diageo, has cut her and her partner off from the business because she’s gay. Serving once as a brand ambassador for the company, Bulleit took to Facebook to make major accusations about the family:
On December 23, 2016 on holiday’s eve, I could never have imagined that I would get an email telling me that I was no longer working for Bulleit or representing the brand. One would assume that after relocating across the country to be closer to both of our distilleries that my partnerships were in good standing and that my efforts would be acknowledged.
As a result I was unable to attend the grand opening of the Bulleit Distilling Company. I have proven myself to be a responsible asset to the brand for over a decade and many people who attended the opening did not work directly or indirectly for the distillery. Therefore, the only time I have set foot on the distillery grounds is this photo at the Ground breaking in 2014 (which I was invited to last minute as an afterthought, and no invitation was extended to Cher).
I have not seen the Bulleit Distillery since (during construction or as a finished distillery). Which would not have existed without my tireless travel, or my 5 relocations in less than 10 years to urban areas to promote the brand. My family does not pay my bills, I do not benefit from the royalty sales that I help accrue; Cher and I have taken a vacation bi-annually or less. We have sacrificed. On the day of the opening I sent a gift to the Bulleit household to honor their achievement. I did not receive a single thank you or phone call from one person who was in town for the festivities (including family or former co-workers).
I did not receive a special commemorative bottle. I sat and watched my beloved cry for one of the rare times in our decade long partnership when she saw photos of my stepbrother’s girlfriend (who seems like a lovely person) of less than a year who had a printed sign and assigned seat. Cher had nothing. We were erased and no one lifted a finger. To this day I have no footprint to my name, no commemorative brick, not even a proper going away party. This seems highly unfair, but also like bad business. For the years of free artwork I gave and made from my heart, this has been a heartless and unnecessarily punitive ending that has continued well past December of 2016.
As we know there are always two sides to every story so, today a Diageo spokesperson came out to defend the brand:
“It is unfortunate that we were not able to come to terms on the multi-year contract that we recently offered to Hollis,” said a statement from the company. “However, to insinuate that the failure to do so was due to bias of any kind is simply unfair and inaccurate. We are very proud of our long track record of work, through many of our brands, to support the LGBT community. We are appreciative of Hollis’s past efforts on behalf of the brand and the industry.”