The National Interagency Fire Center cites 41 large fires and complexes that have burned 289,515 acres across seven states in the U.S. West so far in 2022. More than 10,100 wildland firefighters and support personnel are assigned to these incidents. While the federal Office of Wildland Fire budgeted $1.5 billion to prevent and suppress fires, and state agencies contribute millions more, it’s the nearby towns and cities that are most affected by these infernos. That’s why the Park City, Utah-based High West Whiskey is one of many local firms that contributes to preserving and uplifting its Western home.
The brand just released its seasonal, nationally acclaimed Campfire not only to satisfy loyal imbibers, but to help preserve the place where it was born through the Protect the West initiative. With Campfire’s 2022 release, High West is elevating its devotion to the people and organizations keeping the Western environment healthy and its protectors safe. Over the next three years, the spirits maker will fortify this commitment with a pledge to give over $1 million in whiskey revenue to fighting wildfires, wildland preservation, and protecting winters from climate change.
“Now is not the time for us to sit on the sidelines. Our home in the West and everything we love about it is in more and more danger every year,” High West general manager Daniel Schear said in a statement.
A $150,000 inaugural donation will be split between three organizations critical to Protect(ing) the West: the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, dedicated to helping the families of firefighters killed in the line of duty and to assisting injured firefighters and their families; Protect Our Winters, a community of athletes, scientists, creatives, and business leaders advancing non-partisan policies to protect outdoor playgrounds from a warming climate; and American Prairie, creating the largest nature reserve in the contiguous United States by purchasing critical habitat that connects a vast network of existing public lands for wildlife conservation and public access.
“The Wildland Firefighter Foundation is honored to receive such a substantial donation from a local brand, rooted in protecting its community. High West has always been a strong supporter of our mission, and now they’re stepping up even more when it’s needed most,” WFF executive director Burk Minor said in an email.
Not only is High West forging bonds with these communal pillars, the limited release also offers a distinct whiskey style that crosses international borders. One of the distiller’s most iconic expressions, Campfire is an unusual blend that mixes peated Scotch whisky with spicy rye and sweet American corn bourbon.
Founders David and Jane Perkins conceived of this alchemical concoction on an inspiring journey to the Bruichladdich distillery on the isle of Islay in Scotland. Stirred by the combination of a syrup-drizzled melon appetizer and peaty whisky smoke, the pair began working on the distillation that would become Campfire.
Campfire usually drops during the beginning of the fall season, a time when wildfires have grown more and destructive in the Western U.S. Since opening its doors in 2007, High West has witnessed the impact of a rapidly changing climate, higher temperatures, severe droughts, drier forests, and reduced snowpack in the West. In that time, the brand has donated more than $1 million to nonprofits with the majority of those funds going toward organizations protecting the West and its inhabitants. Now, High West is reaffirming and strengthening this commitment to its own backyard.
“We’re building on our past work with this $1 million commitment to protect the West,” Schear said. “We are excited to work with those who are also passionate about saving this beautiful part of the world we call home.”
Whiskey lovers can be a part of this and enjoy the one-a-kind blend of bourbon, rye, and Scotch. Campfire bottles are available online and in national liquor stores, retailing for $79.99.