NEW JERSEY (PIX11) – Anyone who has ever spoken to Eric LeGrand can see he’s a man in high spirits. Now, he owns a his own spirit.

“Thank God we were in the position where we got a lot of people behind us that believed in our mission and our journey,” said LeGrand. 

After a long time in the making, Eric LeGrand Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey has hit the shelves of select bars and liquor stores, including Bottle King, which has stores across New Jersey.

“Overwhelmingly surprised in a positive way how good it actually was at a higher proof,” said LeGrand on the process of making the bourbon. “A lot of times people that aren’t bourbon drinkers will say, ‘ohh, I don’t know about that, it’s going to be strong, it’s going to hurt going down.’ It’s really not, and that’s what I wanted out of this whiskey.”

LeGrand’s life changed forever after suffering a spinal cord injury while playing for Rutgers in 2010. Since then, his life has been a series of defying the odds.

“There’s a bigger purpose of this,” LeGrand said. “It’s because my idea of trying to end the stigma of someone with a spinal cord injury not being able to enjoy the finer things in life. We want to also go towards our mission, our goal, that’s to have a cure for paralysis.”

LeGrand’s friend and business partner, Brian Alexrod, hopes to send a message to all who doubted him.

“When I heard Eric’s story, I was told he was never going to breathe without a breathing tube, never going to eat without a feeding tube, he’s never going to walk again, said Axelrod. “He tells the story that he’s accomplished two of those goals, there’s only one left to do, so, he’s proved a lot of people wrong.”

Part of the whiskey’s proceeds go directly to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation to help find a cure for paralysis.

“I want to be able to make sure Eric LeGrand whiskey is cutting one of the biggest checks to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation has ever received in the long run,” said LeGrand. “This is not just about me. There are 5.6 million Americans who are dealing with some sort of paralysis, 1.2 [million] of them with a spinal cord injury.”