Federal Wine & Spirits

29 State Street, Boston, MA 02109

Please Help Joe Howell Fight Another Killer - Cancer

  Update, and how you can help.
June 1, 2024


Joe Howell


Many people have been asking us how Joe is doing and what they could do for him, so we have set up a GoFundMe to help him get through this difficult time.


Joe’s moment of fame came in the Holdovers movie, when as the liquor store clerk, he served Paul Giamatti's character a pint of whiskey along with the salty retort, "Here you go, killer."

In over twenty years at Federal Wine & Spirits, he has another kind of fame. Self-taught he became one of the area’s foremost whiskey experts. He has become a legend of friendly concern to the many people with whom he has come into contact: suppliers, people who came to one of his whiskey tasting events, and many who have met him across the counter. He gave the same warmth and attention to those who dug quarters out of their pocket for a can of beer as others who paid with a platinum card for an expensive rare malt.

Sadly, Joe is now battling another killer, a malignant throat cancer. In early January he collapsed in the store and was saved by a delivery person who administered CPR under the guidance of the 911 operator and the quick arrival of an ambulance whose medics had to shock his heart. 

After several days in the Intensive care unit at Mass General Hospital, Joe spent a month there undergoing several procedures, including the removal of his larynx.

After his release in March, he had to go back in for a further operation and has been undergoing a regime of radiation and chemotherapy. Although his doctors are optimistic about his recovery, his treatment will be long and expensive. He may never be able to work again.

Cancer has taken Joe's voice, so we must speak for him. Although insurance covered much of his hospital bills, some must still be paid. Even more, Joe has been contributing to the support of a brother and a sister who are in a hospital and nursing home, respectively. Joe does not have much in terms of savings. Friends have given money, money but more is needed.

Joe will be very grateful for anything you can do. Please give what you can and pass this along to any of Joe's friends and on your social media.

Len Rothenberg