The Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame has announced the names of its six new inductees, all of which will join the elite ranks in September, 2022.
The Parker Beam Lifetime Achievement Award will be bestowed on the late Stephen Francis Thompson, founder and president of Kentucky Artisan Distillery, who unexpectedly died in 2021 after an accident. He was 79 years old.
“Since we lost the past two years to Covid-19, this is officially the 20th anniversary of the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame, whiskey’s most spirited honour,” said Eric Gregory, president of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, which founded the Hall of Fame in 2001.
“Congratulations to this year’s esteemed class which celebrates the visionaries, artisans and partners that have made Kentucky Bourbon – and our beloved Commonwealth – the gold standard of American whiskey. And, on behalf of our industry, a heartfelt thank you.”
The Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame recognises individuals and organisations that have made a significant and transformational impact on Bourbon’s stature, growth and awareness.
This year’s inductees are, in alphabetical order, are as follows:
Retiring Rep. D. Chad McCoy, R-Bardstown, Majority Whip, Kentucky House of Representatives, two-time recipient of the KDA’s “100 Proof” award for public service and champion of several landmark pieces of legislation.
The late Stephen Francis Thompson, founder and president, Kentucky Artisan Distillery (Lifetime Achievement Award), former president of Brown-Forman Distilleries and a pioneering resource for craft distilleries across the country.
Julian P. Van Winkle, III, president, Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery, heralded grandson of Bourbon legend Julian “Pappy” Van Winkle, creator of the ultra-aged premium Pappy Van Winkle brand and the very first James Beard winner from Kentucky, as well as numerous other accolades.
Andrea Marie Wilson, distinguished industry veteran, chief operating officer and master of maturation at Michter’s Distillery, and, in 2009, the first woman to chair the KDA Board of Directors.
Retiring U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Louisville, co-founder of the Congressional Bourbon Caucus and chair of the House Budget Committee who helped lead a permanent reduction on the federal excise tax on distillers among other key measures.
Kaveh Zamanian, founder, whiskey maker and CEO, Rabbit Hole Distillery, left Iran in 1979 during the revolution and founded Rabbit Hole in 2012. He blends the immigrant whiskey maker tradition with time-honoured methods, diverse perspectives and modernist aesthetics.
The invitation-only ceremony will be held on 13 September at My Old Kentucky Home state park in Bardstown, Kentucky, one of the state’s most revered historic sites. It is held annually in conjunction with the Kentucky Bourbon Festival, which runs from 16–18 September in Bardstown.
Following the induction ceremony, there will be an exclusive reception sponsored by Independent Stave Company (ISC), a KDA “Champion” level industry member. ISC president and CEO Brad Boswell and his father, John, are both Hall of Fame members.
“We look forward to seeing all our living legends next month and celebrating the best of the best of our historic industry and toasting our success,” Gregory said. “Thanks to our partners at Independent Stave Company and our distinguished members.”