Indianapolis-based Trinity Metals has teamed up with Hotel Tango Distillery of Indianapolis and the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels (HOKC) to supply relief for western Kentucky victims of the deadly December 2021 tornadoes. In all, the HOKC raffled 648 bottles of bourbon from three distinct barrels produced at the distillery, with proceeds going to organizations helping tornado victims.

Trinity Metals CEO Wade Conner and Travis Barnes, co-owner of Hotel Tango Distillery, are Kentucky Colonels. The governor of Kentucky grants “Kentucky Colonel” commissions to individuals for contributions to the community, state, or nation, and for special achievements of all kinds. Colonels range from businesspeople to sports figures to artists. Since 1951, the HOKC has pursued its mission through annual grants totaling $55 million to more than 1,600 nonprofits.

“The Commonwealth of Kentucky has always been an important part of the Trinity success story and it is only fitting that we support the tornado relief effort with our best efforts,” Conner says. “The Board of Trustees of [the HOKC] has the connections and networks in place to put our charitable dollars to work far more effectively than we ever could. It is an honor for us to be able to contribute to this good work.”

Trinity bought the whiskey from the distillery and donated the liquor to the fundraiser, he explains. Custom labels were prepared in conjunction with Hotel Tango and the HOKC. After bottling and boxing Conner arranged to drive the bourbon more than 100 miles from Indianapolis to HOKC headquarters in Louisville, Ky. About 300 Colonels signed up for the raffle.

This is a unique collaboration for the HOKC, Executive Director Sherry Crose says.  “Kentucky Colonels’ generosity is always amazing, and when Trinity Metals, Wade Conner, and his team approached the [nonprofit] about this partnership with Hotel Tango, we were amazed once again,” she says. “Because the Colonels gave, we expect to raise more than $50,000 to lift up those in western Kentucky who lost so much.”

In the early morning hours of Dec. 11, dozens of tornadoes affected Kentucky, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama, killing over 100 people and injuring dozens of others. The HOKC’s charitable funds stay inside Kentucky, Crose says. “The dollars raised [from the bourbon raffle] are being distributed quickly to vetted organizations working in western Kentucky,” she adds.

Western Kentucky borders Illinois, Missouri, and Tennessee. Cities in the region include Owensboro, Henderson, Madisonville, Hopkinsville, Princeton, Murray, Mayfield and Paducah. The HOKC has pledged $3.5 million to tornado relief across Kentucky.

Trinity Metals is an international wholesaler and processor that specializes in upgrading nonferrous recycled metals to their highest economic level using best practices and technology. Conner founded the predecessor of Trinity as a division of TVF Inc. in August 2001 in Carmel, Ind.

In August 2008, Trinity bought substantially all the U.S. metal processing assets from TVF and rolled them into Trinity as it is known today. The company’s board has directed that up to 5% of Trinity’s annual profits are to be donated to charities such as the HOKC, Wheeler Mission homeless shelter in Indianapolis, and local food banks as well as to trade school, college, and university scholarships.

Veteran-owned Hotel Tango Distillery distributes to retailers in 22 states and to many U.S. military bases. The three barrels of bourbon sold in the raffle had a mash bill of 70% corn, 21% rye, and 9% barley and were aged 2 years and 355 days. The whiskies were bottled at about 119 proof.

All images courtesy of Trinity Metals. Featured image caption: Brian Holcomb (in truck), senior general manager at Trinity Metals, unloads bottles of bourbon at Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels headquarters in Louisville, Ky. Body image 1 caption: Wade Conner, CEO of Trinity Metals; Sherry Crose, executive director of the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels; and Brian Holcomb, Trinity Metals senior general manager. Body image caption 2: One of more than 600 bottles of Hotel Tango bourbon donated by Trinity Metals to the raffle for tornado relief.



Dan Hockensmith

Dan Hockensmith

I'm a native Ohioan who since 2014 has called Maryland home. My background includes print, broadcast, and digital journalism; government contracting; and marketing communications.