Mike Rowe Announces Whiskey Is Finally Available to Buy in Tribute to Granddad

by Jennifer Shea
Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Dirty Jobs star Mike Rowe has multiple reasons to celebrate. His show, Dirty Jobs, is back on the air as of Jan. 2 at 8 p.m. ET. His song, “Santa’s Gotta Dirty Job,” recently hit No. 1 on iTunes, topping Adele’s “Easy On Me.” And perhaps most importantly, his whiskey, Knobel Tennessee Whiskey, inspired by his grandfather, is out of supply-chain limbo and should be available in time for Christmas.

“The whiskey is here,” Rowe announced in an Instagram post on Friday. “We’ve had some supply chain issues. But at long last, Knobel Tennessee Whiskey is here and I am in a celebratory mood. So perhaps you’ll join me in a virtual drink. Carl Knobel was my granddad, and Dirty Jobs was a tribute to him. So, too, was Mike Rowe WORKS. So, 100 percent of the net proceeds go to the Mike Rowe WORKS Foundation when you buy a bottle of Knobel.”

If you’d like to join Rowe in a drink, go to knobelspirits.com and put your name on the mailing list so Rowe can contact you about shipping you some whiskey.

Mike Rowe WORKS Foundation Champions Blue-Collar Jobs

The Mike Rowe WORKS Foundation aims to redefine stereotypes around blue-collar work. Rowe insists there is a stigma around certain types of jobs, and he’s set out to confront that.

“Our organization [doesn’t] think a four-year degree is the best path for the most people,” the foundation’s mission statement reads. “[We] want people to understand the impact of skilled labor on their lives, and we are convinced that the solution has to start with a new appreciation of hard work.”

According to Charity Navigator, Rowe’s foundation gets a 98.85 out of 100 for its financials. Fully 81.1 percent of its expenses go to its programming, versus 14.6 percent to administrative and 4.3 percent to fundraising.

The foundation launched in 2008, and it supports over 19 skilled trades. Rowe has also founded a Work Ethic Scholarship as part of the foundation.

Rowe believes the disappearance of vocational education and the skyrocketing cost of college tuition are symptoms of a troubling disconnect. And so he’s embarked on a national P.R. campaign designed to change that.

Knobel Whiskey Is Dedicated to Hard Workers

As a child, Mike Rowe always wanted to emulate his grandfather, who he called Pop. A tradesman, Carl Knobel had a seventh-grade education. He also had a way with his hands that suited his job as an electrician.

“I never once saw him read the instructions to anything,” Rowe recalled on Knobel Spirits’ website. “He just knew how stuff worked, and he helped anybody who needed it.”

Rowe followed his grandfather around, planning to emulate him as an adult. But it soon became clear that Rowe wasn’t handy the way his grandfather was. Unfortunately, he didn’t have that knack for basic physics that his Pop did.

Finally, Pop sat Rowe down and taught him a valuable lesson, a lesson that undergirds Rowe’s foundation today: Not everybody has the same God-given gifts. So just as some people aren’t cut out to be electricians, other people aren’t cut out to be academics.

Years later, Rowe has rolled out a whiskey dedicated to the people he’s profiled on Dirty Jobs, people whose difficult, dangerous or just plain odd work is vital to our society but often overlooked. And it was that work that inspired the whiskey’s slogan: Work hard. Play fair. Be Knobel.