Joe Louis Bourbon - Champion of them all - label first release 1952

Joe Louis Bourbon:

A story of strength, renewal and diversity

The story behind Joe Louis Bourbon is one of strength, renewal and revival. We are living in a time when professional athletes routinely go into business and receive endorsement deals. But that was not the case in the era of Joe Louis.

Joe Louis reigned as world heavyweight champion for over 12 years. Almost everyone who has heard the name revere the Brown Bomber as a true champion of sports. But there is another side of this complex national hero, a story about the struggles of people of color in business.

Joe Louis got into the spirits business at a time when Jim Crow was so pervasive that his Black fans were not allowed to be in the audience at most venues where he fought. When he stepped out of the ring in 1951, he pursued entrepreneurial dreams of going into the beverage business.

In 1952, Joe Louis Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey was a launched with Joe Louis as a part- owner of the Joe Louis Distilling Company in Philadelphia, PA. The label was produced in Philly for about a year. The whiskey was bottled in Kentucky, and the last line of the bottle label read, “Joe Louis Bottling Co., Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.” By January 1953, the label read, “Joe Louis Distilling Co., Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.” Although this was a short-lived venture, Joe Louis’s idea endured. Now, in 2020, the Joe Louis Bourbon brand is relaunched.

Joe Louis Bourbon - Champion of them all - label first release 1952

Joe Louis Bourbon:

A story of strength, renewal and diversity

As the longest reigning world heavyweight champion and America’s first African-American national hero is one of strength, heroism, perseverance, sacrifice, patriotism, and inspiration.

These are the ideals from which Joe Louis “Champion of them all” bourbon is created. The comeback of an authentic American spirit. Straight bourbon whiskey to serve and enjoy in honor, respect and admiration while inspiring a new generation of champions.

Your purchase helps to support a new generation of champions. One dollar from each bottle of Joe Louis Bourbon sold will go to USA Boxing programs to support and inspire a new generation of champions, including members of the USA Olympic Boxing team.

Joe Louis Bourbon also supports Golden Gloves championships through local sponsorships.

Discover more…

Joe Louis Distilling logo

The new Joe Louis Distilling Company​

Today’s Joe Louis Distilling Company is headquartered outside of Portland, Maine, and distilled and bottled in the Blue Hills of Davis Valley in Virginia, where it is not lost on anyone that the history of slavery and some of the most brutal moments of the Civil War occurred. Recognizing the weight of history in creating a brand to respect and honor the acclaimed “Champion of Them All” and the country’s first African American hero, Joe Louis Distilling committed to a single, driving mission:

“to be authentic in everything we do.

The Joe Louis comeback is a testament to a country and its people.  It shows that inclusiveness, working together, and overcoming our differences can result in the creation of a company that we can all be proud of — it is the true embodiment of the American spirit.

We have created a brand which educates, inspires, and represents the triumph of good over evil, and love over hate – one where all people are judged fairly and honestly – not by the color of their skin.

We aspire to be – as Joe himself said – “Champion of Them All.” We are proud of the core values of the reimagined Joe Louis Bourbon brand, and we like to think that Joe himself is looking down on it all with pride.

Joe Louis Distilling logo

The new Joe Louis Distilling Company​​

Today’s Joe Louis Distilling Company is headquartered outside of Portland, Maine, and distilled and bottled in the Blue Hills of Davis Valley in Virginia, where it is not lost on anyone that the history of slavery and some of the most brutal moments of the Civil War occurred. Recognizing the weight of history in creating a brand to respect and honor the acclaimed “Champion of Them All” and the country’s first African American hero, Joe Louis Distilling committed to a single, driving mission:

“to be authentic in everything we do.”

The Joe Louis comeback is a testament to a country and its people.  It shows that inclusiveness, working together, and overcoming our differences can result in the creation of a company that we can all be proud of — it is the true embodiment of the American spirit.

We have created a brand which educates, inspires, and represents the triumph of good over evil, and love over hate – one where all people are judged fairly and honestly – not by the color of their skin.

We aspire to be – as Joe himself said – “Champion of Them All.” We are proud of the core values of the reimagined Joe Louis Bourbon brand, and we like to think that Joe himself is looking down on it all with pride.

A diverse team committed to excellence

Joe Louis Bourbon - JJ Mokarzel - Founder & Chief Operating Officer

JJ Mokarzel
Founder & Chief Operating Officer

Joe Louis Bourbon - Peter Guidi - Founder & Chief Marketing Officer​

Peter Guidi
Founder & Chief Marketing Officer​

Joe Louis with Joe Louis Barrow Jr. II (Jo-Jo) Joe Louis’s youngest son

Joe Louis Barrow Jr. II (Jo-Jo)
Joe Louis’s youngest son

The driving force behind the relaunch of Joe Louis Bourbon is a diverse team committed to a true high-quality handcrafted line of American whiskeys, a brand story that is intended to educate and inspire a new generation of champions, with inclusiveness and sensitivity.

Major contributors committed to the success of the Joe Louis Bourbon brand are businessmen JJ Mokarzel and Peter Guidi along with Joe Louis’s youngest son Joe Louis Barrow Jr. II known as Jojo.

Mokarzel and Guidi are two cousins, both hoteliers of Italian-American descent, passionate about spirits, who decided to take on the challenge, much as heavyweight champion Joe Louis himself did often in his career.

JJ Mokarzel and Peter Guidi each bring a lifetime of experience in hospitality, business, and food and beverage, which gave them the confidence to step into the ring.

JJ grew up in the family beer, wine, and food distribution business. When it was sold, his extensive knowledge of wine and outgoing personality made him the perfect choice to run the wine sales division of the company. This division would ultimately become part of Constellation Brands.

Peter is a “Stave & Thief” Certified Bourbon Steward and Hotelier. His interest in Bourbon grew out of summer evenings spent on the porch pouring “America’s best spirit; Bourbon” with his guests.  In his youth he was an accomplished competitive swimmer.

So, it was natural that he’d play a key role first in the family’s competitive swimwear business and later at the international swimwear brand, Arena.

Peter forged sports marketing alliances with USA Swimming and created successful marketing programs with USS “Local Swimming Communities”.

Working clubs ranging from entry level to Olympic competitors nationwide Peter played a role in helping coaches, parents and athletes make their experiences successful.

Later in his career, Peter managed national sales programs at several high-profile payment processing businesses, including PayPal, ACI, FIS and Zipline.

Armed with confidence, determination, and a fighting spirit, JJ and Peter reached out to the Joe Louis family through a connection with CMG Worldwide, which manages the licensing rights for the family, represented by Jo Jo – Joe’s youngest son, Joe Louis Barrow Jr. II.

The driving force behind the relaunch of Joe Louis Bourbon is a diverse team committed to a true high-quality handcrafted line of American whiskeys, a brand story that is intended to educate and inspire a new generation of champions, with inclusiveness and sensitivity.

Major contributors committed to the success of the Joe Louis Bourbon brand are businessmen JJ Mokarzel and Peter Guidi along with Joe Louis’s youngest son Joe Louis Barrow Jr. II known as Jojo.

Mokarzel and Guidi are two cousins, both hoteliers of Italian-American descent, passionate about spirits, who decided to take on the challenge, much as heavyweight champion Joe Louis himself did often in his career.

JJ Mokarzel and Peter Guidi each bring a lifetime of experience in hospitality, business, and food and beverage, which gave them the confidence to step into the ring.

JJ grew up in the family beer, wine, and food distribution business. When it was sold, his extensive knowledge of wine and outgoing personality made him the perfect choice to run the wine sales division of the company. This division would ultimately become part of Constellation Brands.

Peter is a “Stave & Thief” Certified Bourbon Steward and Hotelier. His interest in Bourbon grew out of summer evenings spent on the porch pouring “America’s best spirit; Bourbon” with his guests.  In his youth he was an accomplished competitive swimmer.

So, it was natural that he’d play a key role first in the family’s competitive swimwear business and later at the international swimwear brand, Arena.

Peter forged sports marketing alliances with USA Swimming and created successful marketing programs with USS “Local Swimming Communities”.

Working clubs ranging from entry level to Olympic competitors nationwide Peter played a role in helping coaches, parents and athletes make their experiences successful.

Later in his career, Peter managed national sales programs at several high-profile payment processing businesses, including PayPal, ACI, FIS and Zipline.

Armed with confidence, determination, and a fighting spirit, JJ and Peter reached out to the Joe Louis family through a connection with CMG Worldwide, which manages the licensing rights for the family, represented by Jo Jo – Joe’s youngest son, Joe Louis Barrow Jr. II.

Julie Watson

Julie Watson
Director of Public Relations

Joe Louis Bourbon - Rafael Baffini - Creative Director

Rafael Baffini
Creative Director

Joe Louis Bourbon - Michael Shoer - Head of Social Media Advisor/Development Managing Partner Victory Spirits

Michael Shoer
Head of Social Media
Advisor/Development
Managing Partner
Victory Spirits

Tonya Cole

Tonya Cole
Podcast hostess