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Lost Whiskey [Veteran Vices]

Nick Cioffi enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve as a supply specialist at age 17, with the idea of going to community college.

Like many, he found out quickly that traditional academia just wasn’t suited for him. So, he pursued his military duty on a more full-time basis, serving at Camps Lejeune and Pendleton, in addition to 29 Palms and Anacostia Naval Station. His ability behind a rifle got him assigned to range coaching duty, which he describes as his “most enjoyable time in the Corps.” 

After completing his enlistment in 1998, Cioffi eventually returned to school and finished a four-year degree.

It was almost by accident that he wound up in the bourbon business. His now-business partner owned a tract of land in Virginia — once owned by George Washington — overlooking Lost Mountain with Whiskey Hollow below. 

A conversation with college friend Rob Cassell, a distiller in the Philadelphia area, helped give birth to Lost Whiskey. Cioffi says the brand is “focused on simplicity and quality.” 

Each bottle of Lost includes a leather strap imprinted with a unique barrel and bottle number, never to be repeated. Their lean, tall 375mL bottles are specifically designed so that “you and a friend pull the cork, finish the bottle while eating a great meal, or have conversations around a fire.” 

This focus on storytelling resonates in the charities that Lost Whiskey chooses to support, primary among those being Fisher House — a choice inspired by Cioffi losing his own mother to cancer on Veterans Day. In addition to this, Cioffi says:

“We also participate in a Gold Star Families event each year in Virginia. It’s put on by One Family Brewing, and the owner donates all proceeds to the charity. It hosts a few thousand people over two days and is a great experience. We bring a barrel’s worth of whiskey and the barrel itself. We ask each vet to sign the barrel with name and unit, then we auction off the barrel at the end, with all the money going to the charity.”

Whether it’s dinner with loved ones or reconnecting with brothers-in-arms, we encourage you to look for Lost Whiskey in your area or visit their website to uncork a bottle and share the good times with those closest to you. 

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