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Veteran Establishes Spirits Company for American Patriots

Review: Leadslingers Bourbon Whiskey
By Lee Williams, The Gun Writer

There’s an M4 on the label along with an eagle and an American Flag.

An M4!

Make no mistake, this is Second Amendment-friendly bourbon — pro-gun booze.

Leadslingers Bourbon Whiskey, the brainchild of seven combat veterans, is hard not to like.

The backstory

Brad Premo (Gamma Gamma–Memphis ’00)

Brad Premo (Gamma Gamma–Memphis ’00), Leadslingers’ owner, said he and his teammates are all former infantryman — 11Bs — who “have experience with whiskey from the consumer side.”

They all started at another veteran-owned company, Article 15 Clothing, which specializes in “freedom lifestyle apparel.”

Brad was working as an accountant in Nashville when he got the call from his buddies to join them at Article 15.

“They needed someone to run their books,” he said. “I thought, wow. It’s a t-shirt company. We won’t make any money, but it will sure be fun. It ended up blowing up. The business took off huge! We started thinking about other things we wanted to do. We were working for ourselves so we could take risks.”

The guys linked up with a distiller in Oklahoma City, who was making a local product. He had the extra capacity to meet the guys’ needs.

Brad was the first to meet with the distiller.

“The day I walked out of the accounting firm for the last time, I walked onto a plane to start Leadslingers,” he said. “I’m a former paratrooper and a cop. I was not built for cubicle life.”

Leadslingers began with bourbon, but followed up with Black Flag Rum, Fighting Spirit Rye and Napalm — a cinnamon-infused whiskey.

Along the way they had time to make a movie, Range 15, which for reasons unknown was overlooked by the Academy. Leadslingers is featured in the film.

Brad credits another business venture, the Drinkin’ Bros Podcast and companion Facebook page, for much of Leadslingers’ success.

“Before the podcast could get off the ground our (Facebook) page blew up,” he said. “It’s become the modern day VFW. Post-9/11 vets are not active in VFWs. We hang out online, through social media. Drinkin’ Bros became that. We ended up with a lifestyle brand — Drinkin’ Bros — that supported Leadslingers like crazy.”

Before the end of the year, Brad said, a Leadslingers beer is planned, as well as a taproom in Oklahoma City — a home base where the whiskey and beer is made.

As to my big question — will there be a Range 15 sequel — Brad was less than clear.

“Making the movie was a massive undertaking,” he said. “The movie was an awesome experience, and there was a documentary shot alongside — “Not a war story” — which tells the story of making our movie. There have been ideas for a sequel, but I don’t know if it’s going to happen.”

“We all have a lot of irons in the fire — a lot of ideas,” he said. “You never know which ones will shake out.”

The tasting

The Gun Writer team painstakingly assembled a wide variety of palates before testing Leadslingers Bourbon Whiskey.

There were rum snobs — yours truly — bourbon aficionados, Scotch drinkers and more.

We all liked the stuff.

The guys’ bourbon is smooth — really smooth. There’s no back end — or back fist as is the case with some cheaper bourbons. Instead, the flavor drops off quickly.

I’ve read booze reviews where the author claims to have experienced hints of vanilla or caramel or even mulberry or some such shite.  I got none of that. I tasted bourbon, and the bourbon was good.

In my humble opinion, and that of our team, Leadslingers Bourbon Whiskey is much better than the Jims and the Jacks.

At around $40, it’s a bit pricey, but as someone who hasn’t always pissed civilian water either, I’d much rather my hard-earned dollars go to American veterans than some international liquor conglomerate.

Well done, brothers!

Kudos and congrats.

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