Pouring Up Philanthropy

When Tito Beveridge first began producing and selling Tito’s Handmade Vodka in Austin over 20 years ago, a local nonprofit called him up and asked if he could donate a couple of cases of his vodka to their fundraising event.

“He had just started the first legal distillery in Texas, and he decided that it was really a great way to get the brand in the hand, so he would donate products to nonprofit events,” says Lisa Huddleson, director of strategic philanthropy at Tito's
Handmade Vodka. “When the events kept getting bigger and bigger, he kept donating his product more and more. The only thing he would really ask is, ‘If you like it, tell 20 of your closest friends.’”

Those initial donations have now grown into a full-fledged philanthropy project known as Love, Tito’s. The name originates from the signatures that employees put on letters and donations to the organizations they benefit, always signing “Love, Tito’s.”

Today, they have given products, promotions and cash donations to thousands of nonprofits throughout the country. “Whether it’s something local like Emancipet here in Austin or natural disasters on a global scale, we try to spread love and joy as much as we can and as far as we can,” Huddleson says.

One of their more recent philanthropic projects is the Love Stories video series, highlighting three nonprofits particularly near and dear to the hearts of the Love, Tito’s team. One video focuses on the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, more commonly known as HAAM, an organization that provides access to affordable healthcare for low-income, working musicians in our city. With the release of the video, Huddleson says HAAM gained national exposure like they’d never seen before.

“We support a plethora of nonprofits, both in Austin and nationwide, and we've even gone global as well,” Huddleson says. “But obviously, we always want to make the biggest impact here in our backyard, in Austin.”

When asked what the future of Love, Tito’s holds, Huddleston replies that she hopes their work will inspire others to give back as well. “Tito has done it, and all of our employees have done it, with vodka as our medium,” she says. “Whatever you're passionate about, whatever you find that makes a difference to you in the world, we just hope that you would go out and support it.”

For more information, visit titosvodka.com/love

By Darby Kendall