NEW YORK, May 12, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, created to honor the father of American old school tattooing, Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins, has partnered with Fleet Week New York to support and celebrate service members at this year's Fleet Week, which kicks off Wednesday, May 25, and continues through Tuesday, May 31, 2016. Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum will participate in existing events, and create some new ones, including a Sailor Jerry "Block Party" on Sunday, May 29, featuring Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum cocktails, an outdoor concert, and a special appearance by actor and military supporter Norman Reedus, who will lead a toast to the troops. Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum is taking this opportunity to raise awareness of and funds for the Norman Collins Initiative at The Aleethia Foundation, a military charity which supports wounded, injured and ill service members. People wishing to learn more about Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins, Fleet Week activities and the Aleethia Foundation can stop by the Sailor Jerry "Home Base" at 348 West 44th Street during Fleet Week. Visit www.sailorjerry.com to learn more about all the Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum Fleet Week activities.
Reedus, who currently stars on both AMC's The Walking Dead and a new motorcycle show debuting next month, Ride with Norman Reedus, is a longtime supporter of the military and motorcycles. He will arrive on a custom motorcycle to the Sailor Jerry "Block Party" at Hudson River Park's Pier 84, adjacent to the U.S.S. INTREPID, a WWII-era aircraft carrier which today serves as New York's Sea, Air & Space Museum. As part of the celebration Reedus will lead the assembled crowd in a Toast to the Troops with Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, thanking military attendees for their service. Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum commissioned the custom motorcycle specifically to be donated to a member of the military, and following Reedus' ride, it will be gifted to the chosen recipient through The Aleethia Foundation.
"I'm a huge supporter of our military and thankful for their efforts," shared Reedus. "I was excited to lend a hand to the cause and look forward to the event. We're throwing a free concert for everyone, and I'll arrive on this incredible bike that Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum custom built and which it will give to a member of the military later through Aleethia. It's going to be an awesome day, and I hope the men and women of the service have a great time. They deserve our appreciation and our gratitude."
Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum was created to honor Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins, a Navy vet who built his rep inking soldiers and sailors in WWII-era Honolulu where he established his legendary tattoo parlor and himself as the undisputed father of American old-school tattooing. Collins was born on January 14th, 1911, and quickly found his passion for tattooing while traveling the country, hopping freight trains with a man named "Big Mike" who taught him the hand-pricking method. At 19, Collins joined the U.S. Navy where he was exposed to the art and culture of Southeast Asia. Following his naval service, Collins made WWII-era Honolulu his home and continued honing his skills as a tattoo artist. Sailors on Shore Leave in Honolulu would wait in line for hours outside Collins' Hotel Street tattoo shop to be inked by the master himself. Not one to rest idly, Collins also became a licensed skipper of a large three-masted schooner, played the saxophone in his own band, and frequently hosted a radio show. These personal passions are now celebrated through Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum and shared with likeminded individuals.
"Norman Collins was a military man with a profound appreciation for the service and those who serve," shared Josh Hayes, Senior Brand Manager – Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum. "Supporting Fleet Week, which in many ways is a modern equivalent to Shore Leave in Collins' time, is the right thing to do and we at Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum look forward to thanking, supporting and celebrating our amazing Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen through all of the events we have planned with our Fleet Week partners."
Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum will participate in official Fleet Week events including the annual Parade of Ships marking the arrival of ships to New York Harbor, a Welcome BBQ in Brooklyn, and many more.
To shine a light on Collins as part of the Fleet Week festivities, and to help Service Members navigate around town for Fleet Week fun beyond the official events, Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum is creating a "Home Base" that opens Wednesday, May 25 and closes Saturday, May 28. This venue, located at 348 West 44th Street (between 8th & 9th Avenues), will celebrate Collins through an installation that pays homage to the man and his legend, and serve as a one-stop source of activity for Service Members in town during Fleet Week. Bars, restaurants, landmarks and other NYC locations will be included on Fleet Week maps that will be available at "Home Base" for all who wish to collect one.
"Home Base" will open daily from Wednesday, May 25-Saturday, May 28 from noon – 9pm. Special activities available to all include complimentary haircuts from Frank's Chop Shop (available Wednesday and Thursday from 1-4pm) and complimentary tattoos by Three Kings (available Friday from 5-8pm and Saturday from 1-4pm). Haircuts and tattoos are limited to a first come first serve basis; those wishing to participate will be required to sign in. Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum invites service members and supporters to stop in and sign up.
A video confessional booth will be set up within "Home Base" allowing visitors to share their stories – about the service, their tattoos, or their Fleet Week experience – with friends and loved ones via social media. Sailor Jerry will post select messages and video content throughout the week on its social channels and its Fleet Week microsite.
"Fleet Week is an amazing time in New York City every year, and this year is expected to be one of the biggest," added Hayes. "We are honored to participate and proud to take the opportunity to shine a light on the important work The Aleethia Foundation does every day. We hope that through our 'Home Base' activities, our 'Block Party,' and the help of Norman Reedus, we will raise awareness of and funds for Aleethia to continue their efforts on behalf of those who have served."
The Aleethia Foundation supports wounded, injured and ill service members with short-term therapeutic recreation, small financial grants, family emergency aid, assistive technology items, home improvements to assist with an injured service member's mobility and other basic needs. The latest initiative is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for brain injuries suffered while on active duty.
Over the past six years, Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum has raised nearly $200,000 for The Aleethia Foundation, with nearly $50,000 raised in 2015 alone. This year, Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum is expanding efforts with a series of national and local campaigns that will support and raise funds for Aleethia through the Norman Collins Initiative at The Aleethia Foundation.
Fleet Week New York, now in its 28th year, is the city's time-honored celebration of the sea services. It is an unparalleled opportunity for the citizens of New York and the surrounding tri-state area to meet Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, as well as witness firsthand the latest capabilities of today's maritime services. The weeklong celebration has been held nearly every year since 1984. More than 4,000 people are expected to visit New York to enjoy Fleet Week this year.
To learn more about Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum's Fleet Week activities and for a calendar of events, log onto www.sailorjerry.com.
About William Grant & Sons
William Grant & Sons Holdings Ltd is an independent family-owned distiller headquartered in the United Kingdom and founded by William Grant in 1887. Today, the global premium spirits company is run by the fifth generation of his family and distils some of the world's leading brands of Scotch whisky, including the world's most awarded single malt Glenfiddich®, The Balvenie® range of handcrafted single malts and the world's third largest blended Scotch, Grant's®, as well as other iconic spirits brands such as Hendrick's® Gin, Sailor Jerry®, Tullamore D.E.W.® Irish Whiskey, Monkey Shoulder® triple malt whisky and Drambuie®.
William Grant & Sons has been honored as "Distiller of the Year" by the prestigious International Wine & Spirit Competition and International Spirits Challenge ten times over the past 15 years.
Founded in 1964, William Grant & Sons USA is a wholly-owned subsidiary of William Grant & Sons, Ltd. and features one of the fastest growing spirits portfolios in the USA with brands including Glenfiddich, The Balvenie, Hendrick's Gin, Sailor Jerry Rum, Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey, Drambuie, Milagro Tequila, Grant's, Hudson Whiskey, Gibson's Finest, Monkey Shoulder, Clan MacGregor, Reyka Vodka, Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur, Montelobos Mezcal, Ancho Reyes, Flor de Caña Rum, Art In The Age, The Knot and Raynal French Brandy. For more information on the company and its brands, please visit www.grantusa.com.
SOURCE Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum