We often don’t think of vodka as American liquor. Tito’s Handmade Vodka of Austin, TX, has changed this discourse. It has been distilling corn-based liquor that is gluten-free, sharp and great for your favorite cocktail for over a quarter century. As a show of good faith to its loyal consumers, Tito’s has been giving back to underserved communities in Texas and some other major cities in the U.S.
Whenever the company sends newsletters or updates, it signs off with “Love, Tito’s,” a homage to the founder. “Love, Tito’s” is now one of the distillery’s largest nonprofit extensions. It encompasses all charitable campaigns and serves as the donation drive for the vodka maker. These efforts include cleaning up after devastating natural disasters, funding academic research and uplifting underprivileged communities.
Recently, the brand made headlines thanks to its Block to Block program, where philanthropic efforts establish urban farms for people with little access to fresh produce. The program has helped build several urban farms in South Dallas, working alongside Restorative Farms.
They serve not only as food centers but also create job opportunities for the community.
Many workers involved with Restorative Farms use the Block by Block program as the starting point for careers in agriculture. “It’s working with the community for the community and providing food to the community,” said Owen Lynch, executive director, Restorative Farms. Similar urban farms are in cities like Nashville, TN, Atlanta, GA, and San Antonio, TX.
On top of supporting sustainable urban agriculture, Tito’s also commits funds for accessible healthcare for all. It has worked with One Good Turn, which provides medical services and education in areas of the U.S. like Houston, TX, and Seattle, WA, and some international cities like Nairobi, Kenya. Tito’s has been a substantial sponsor of the Austin-based nonprofit, as the organization’s goals align with the “Love, Tito’s” mission statement. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the vodka maker quickly supplied cities with hand sanitizer made from the vodka solution. Over $10 million was put toward COVID-19 relief by the distillery independently.
On the conservation side, the brand has been passionate about protecting the ocean from pollution and acidification. Working with Ocean Conservancy, the vodka maker used merchandise sales from its web store to fund ocean cleanup efforts. In 2019, it was estimated around 20 million pounds of plastic were removed from beaches and open water, all thanks to generous donations from partners like Tito’s. These kinds of partnerships are crucial for continuing the efforts of the Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas campaign. It has removed around 349 million pounds of garbage from oceans worldwide.
The laboratory is another place touched by Tito’s generosity. Through its Creating Hope + Elevating Emerging Research + Science (CHEERS) program, the company provided financial grants for numerous academic research projects in biology, sustainability and space. Over the years, the distillery has helped fund asteroid research, medical breakthroughs with the University of Texas and Baylor University Children’s Hospital, and COVID-19 relief.
It’s hard to think liquor could inspire change, yet that’s what Tito’s is doing: creating a better future for the next generations. If you buy a bottle, you support urban farming, COVID relief, and ocean conservancy. Cheers to that!