In 2017, rock musician Neil Giraldo founded Steel Bending Spirits LLC, a company that produces a special blend called Three Chord Bourbon. Giraldo, the long-time guitarist, musical partner and husband to legend, Pat Benatar, has combined his passions for both music and bourbon to create a spirits company that thrives on musical essence and a message that associates the creation of spirits with the creation of music.
A statement from Giraldo on the Three Chord Bourbon website reads, "When I first began playing guitar, I realized that if I could learn to play three basic chords — the roots of the blues — feel their meaning, perfect their sound, I could have a career in music. I also recognized that the beauty of the perfect melody, the arrangement of those notes and vibrations of those tones, could impact one’s mood and elicit powerful emotions.
"One night as I was sipping bourbon with friends, the conversation naturally turned to music," Giraldo continues. "I had an epiphany: take that same philosophy of making music and apply it to blending bourbon. Use the concept of sound and vibrations that affect our hearts and souls to alter and enhance the structure of bourbon. I understood how bourbon aged in wood. Could rhythmic disruption blend a bourbon that embodies the influence of those three chords: balanced, bold, and Perfectly Tuned?"
Steel Bending Spirits has found success in the past three years. They distribute to 15 states nationwide and have released two new variations of Three Chord, Twelve Bar Reserve and Amplify Rye.
Most notable are the company's efforts to support the music community and up-and-coming musicians. Giraldo has established a music ambassador program that gives the musicians the opportunity to perform in front of larger audiences. Steel Bending Spirits sponsors the shows of selected ambassadors, covering all venue costs and allowing musicians to sell music and merchandise while promoting the SBS brand.
"(To reach your audience), you need to go out and play live shows. You have to go talk to club owners, get them to listen to your music, and then you have to pay their venue $600 a night to play,” Giraldo said in a recent article on Forbes. "We’re giving them the opportunity to be seen and to be heard.”
Since the nation's pandemic shutdown, the company has stayed dedicated to its ambassadors by providing social media assistance, promoting livestream shows and generating online tips. They've also announced a new Instagram initiative to support local restaurants. Fans have been asked to post pictures of take-out meals from local spots, tag @ThreeChordBouron and the restaurant's Instagram, and use the hashtag #3chordeatslocal for a chance to win a guitar signed by Giraldo.
Due to their distillery's residency in Michigan, Steel Bending Spirits recently donated $10,000 to the Michigan Hospitality Industry Employee Relief Fund and continues to donate to multiple organizations that help musicians in need.
"We have to give back," Giraldo said. "That's so important."