25 Aug Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame Announces Oldham County Great
This year’s inductees include Steve Thompson, the late founding member of Crestwood’s Kentucky Artisan Distillery (KDA) and former president of Brown-Forman Distilleries. Visitors can tour KDA for a unique Oldham County bourbon experience at a craft distillery. KDA is also the official home for Jefferson’s Reserve, Whiskey Row and Billy Goat Strut North American Whiskey.
Madison Kopta – Reporter
August 18, 2022
The Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame will induct six new members in September: two distillery founders, influential lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, a groundbreaking industry veteran and a bourbon baron’s acclaimed grandson. Also, The Parker Beam Lifetime Achievement Award will be bestowed on the late Stephen Francis Thompson, founder and president of Kentucky Artisan Distillery.
This year, a committee of Hall of Fame members reviewed and selected inductees for the first time. Candidates are nominated annually by the Kentucky Distillers’ Association and its member distilleries in three categories: Industry, Roll of Honor and Lifetime Achievement.
The selection committee includes all living recipients of the Parker Beam Lifetime Achievement Award: Jimmy Russell, master distiller of Wild Turkey; Bill Samuels, Jr., chairman emeritus of Maker’s Mark; Max Shapira, executive chairman of Heaven Hill Brands; and Even Kulsveen, executive director of Willett Distillery.
“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 honor,” Eric Gregory, president of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, which founded the Hall of Fame in 2001, said, per Distillery Trail.
2022 Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame Inductees
Rep. D. Chad McCoy. A two-time recipient of the KDA’s “100 Proof” award for public service, McCoy is a champion of several landmark pieces of legislation, including the landmark Bourbon Industry Stimulus package.
He has also supported the Kentucky Bourbon Trail experience and is a driving force behind Bardstown’s KY Bourbon Trail Welcome Center. In recognition of his many contributions to the industry, McCoy will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in the category of Public Service.
The late Stephen Francis Thompson, who passed away suddenly in 2020, was the president of Brown-Forman Distilleries and a founding member of the Kentucky Artisan Distillery. His work with small, craft distilleries helped to shape the bourbon landscape we know today.
For his Lifetime Achievement Award, Oldham County’s Steve Thompson will be recognized for his dedication to quality and his commitment to preserving bourbon heritage.
Julian P. Van Winkle III is the president of Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery and the grandson of Julian “Pappy” Van Winkle, one of the most renowned figures in the history of bourbon.
The Van Winkle brand is synonymous with high quality and luxury, and under Julian III’s guidance, it has become one of the most sought-after brands in the world. In addition to his work at the distillery, Julian III is also a James Beard winner and has received numerous other awards and accolades.
Andrea Marie Wilson has played an integral role in the resurgence of American whiskey over the past 30 years. In her roles as executive vice president, general manager and master of maturation at Michter’s Distillery, she has helped to produce some of the world’s most acclaimed whiskeys.
In addition to her work at Michter’s, she has served as the chair of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association Board of Directors, making her the first woman to hold that position.
U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Louisville. Yarmuth is being recognized for co-founding the Congressional Bourbon Caucus and chairing the House Budget Committee. Among his accomplishments are helping to lead a permanent reduction in the federal excise tax on distillers and other vital measures.
Kaveh Zamanian, the founder of Rabbit Hole Distillery, has been selected as one of the 2022 Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame Inductees. Born in Iran, Kaveh fled the country during the revolution in 1979 and eventually settled in the U.S.
He founded Rabbit Hole Distillery in 2012, and his whiskey blends the immigrant whiskey maker tradition with time-honored methods, diverse perspectives and modernist aesthetics. Kaveh’s induction into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame is a well-deserved recognition of his significant contributions to the bourbon industry.
“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.” Gregory said.