Former Michigan football player Charles Woodson launches whiskey brand

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Woodson Bourbon Whiskey is finished in the same French oak wine barrels used in the winemaking process of Charles Woodson Wines Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Courtesy Imperial Beverage

Former University of Michigan football player and Heisman Trophy winner Charles Woodson released a new craft spirit line, Woodson Bourbon Whiskey.

Woodson’s first craft spirit is finished in the same French oak wine barrels used in the winemaking process of Charles Woodson Wines Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

Michigan will be the first state to offer Woodson Bourbon Whiskey to retailers. The spirit will be distributed through Imperial Beverage out of Kalamazoo.

“Michigan has always supported me in whatever I have done, so I want to thank the great state of Michigan for being the first to bring in Woodson Bourbon Whiskey,” Woodson said. “The fans know that I do not just put my name on anything, so I am eager to get back to Michigan and share with you my latest creation. I am proud of my team and our efforts to bring you quality bourbon that I think you’ll really enjoy.”

Imperial Beverage is a long-standing member of the Michigan beverage distribution community. Established in 1933 after the repeal of prohibition and purchased by Kalamazoo’s Cekola family in 1984, Imperial has grown from a one county beer distributor to a top 10 statewide beer, wine and spirits wholesaler.

With 350 employees and four locations in Kalamazoo, Livonia, Traverse City and Ishpeming, Imperial provides statewide coverage that serves every Michigan county.

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