Courtesy of Laws Whiskey House

Laws Whiskey House Is Now The Official Whiskey of the CU Buffs




Have you ever found yourself scratching your head around birthdays and holidays, wondering what you could possibly get for the CU Buffs fan in your life who already has every piece of black and gold sports memorabilia ever made?


Now, you’ve got another option: Ralphie’s Reserve Straight Bourbon.


This delicious spirit is made by Laws Whiskey House, which recently inked an agreement with the university to be the official whiskey of CU Athletics.


“We’re excited to partner with CU Athletics and we can’t wait for fans and visitors to discover a taste of Colorado through our whiskeys,” says Al Laws, founder and chief executive officer of Laws Whiskey House. “This partnership gives us the opportunity to showcase the best whiskey we make and reinforces our Colorado roots.”


Courtesy of Laws Whiskey House


The newly announced partnership is a big deal, because Laws is the first-ever spirit brand to be named an official sponsor of CU Athletics.


An even bigger deal? The fact that sales of Ralphie’s Reserve Straight Bourbon will help support the CU Buffs live mascot program — yes, Ralphie herself will benefit from the partnership. A portion of proceeds from each bottle will be donated to the program, which not only provides care for CU’s live buffalo mascots, but also raises awareness about the American bison more broadly.


The team at Laws crafted Ralphie’s Reserve Straight Bourbon using heirloom Colorado grains and water sourced from Eldorado Springs. When you take a sip, you’ll taste notes of cedar, brown sugar oatmeal and almond, and you’ll smell the tantalizing aromas of cinnamon and red apple. On the finish, it gives hints of toffee.


The story behind CU’s buffalo mascot goes something like this. In the early 1900s, the university didn’t really have a mascot—the various sports teams on campus went by a number of nicknames, from the Yellow Jackets to the Grizzlies to the Frontiersmen.


Courtesy of Laws Whiskey House


That all changed in 1934, thanks to a contest in the Silver & Gold newspaper, which determined that the school’s unifying mascot should be the buffalo. At the last game of the 1934 football season, a group of mischievous students spent $25 to rent a buffalo calf and bring it to the sidelines.


After that, live buffaloes didn’t catch on immediately, though they occasionally made special appearances. In 1957, CU got its first named buffalo, a creature named Mr. Chips. It wasn’t until 1966 that the CU student government decided the university should have a full-time live buffalo mascot—and Ralphie was born. The tradition of Ralphine running across the football field started in 1967.


In the future, Laws will also release a new whiskey that supports the 5430 Alliance, the NIL (name, image and likeness) collective that helps pool funds and create compensation opportunities for student-athletes at CU. More details to come on that NIL whiskey later.


Photo by Sarah Kuta


“Laws Whiskey House is a great Colorado company and we’re excited to welcome them to the Colorado Athletics family as our first official spirit partner,” says Rick George, CU’s athletic director. “In addition to supporting our student-athletes, Ralphie’s Reserve Straight Bourbon will help benefit our Ralphie live mascot program, which provides invaluable support to the most iconic mascot in all of sports.”


Laws was founded in Denver in 2011 and released its first bottles in 2014. The company makes grain-to-bottle whiskies by partnering with Colorado growers, including the Cody family in the San Luis Valley and the Ohnmacht family on the eastern plains.


Courtesy of Laws Whiskey House


The partnership with CU Boulder is just the latest development for Laws. Later this summer, Laws will open a new tasting room at 1420. S. Acoma Street in Denver, a 4,000-square-foot space serving up cocktails and house spirits.


The distillery’s Four Grain Bourbon Cask Strength was recently named the best small-batch bourbon made outside of Kentucky at the World Whiskies Awards.


And earlier this summer, Laws introduced its new Headwater Series, a four-part whiskey collection that raises awareness and money to protect the state’s water sources. Each whiskey will highlight a different river, with the first being dedicated to the Colorado River.


Photo by Sarah Kuta


“We’re doing our part to conserve Colorado’s rivers for future generations by implementing efficient systems and industry-leading wastewater recycling at our distillery, but we can’t save Colorado’s rivers on our own.” says Laws. “Our goal for the Headwaters Series is to bring attention to the fact that our home state of Colorado houses eight major river basins that supply water to millions of people, and they need our help.”




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