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6 people inducted into Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame | News

BARDSTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) — The Kentucky Distillers’ Association welcomed six new members into its Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame.

Kentucky Distillers’ Association, KDA, created the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame in 2001. After two years off for COVID-19, this year marks 20 years of adding influential people to the hall of fame, recognizing their dedication to the industry.

For the first time, a committee of past winners and other members of the bourbon industry selected this year’s inductees.

The ceremony Wednesday started with a check presentation from The Bourbon Crusaders with the money raised in a bourbon auction for Eastern Kentucky flood relief. The total check tallied up to $1.4 million.

“But just as the level of destruction has been unprecedented so has been the response,” Governor Andy Beshear said.

KDA President Eric Gregory emceed the event that was held in conjunction with the Kentucky Bourbon Festival. He said its the first in the group’s history to have a sitting Kentucky governor attend.

“Bourbon is a signature Kentucky industry that employs thousands of our people to produce a product known and loved around the world,” Beshear said. “The Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame ceremony is a great chance to celebrate both the pioneers and the innovators whose vision and craftsmanship keeps pushing bourbon to new heights.” 

This year’s inductees are:







Rep. D. Chad McCoy.jpg

Bardstown Representative Chad McCoy, R, was inducted into Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame September 2022. Photo provided to WDRB by Kentucky Distillers’ Association.


  • 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. 






Stephen Francis Thompson + Red.jpg

The late Stephen Francis Thompson was inducted into Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame September 2022. Photo provided to WDRB by Kentucky Distillers’ Association.


  • 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.png

Julian Van Winkle, III, was inducted into Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame September 2022. Photo provided to WDRB by Kentucky Distillers’ Association.


  • 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 Wilson _ Michters.jpg

Andrea Wilson of Michter’s inducted into Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame September 2022. Photo provided to WDRB from Kentucky Distillers’ Association.


  • 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.






John Yarmuth.jpg

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Louisville, is inducted into Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame.


  • 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.jpeg

Kaveh Zamanian was inducted into Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame in September 2022. Photo provided to WDRB by Kentucky Distillers’ Association taken by photographer Clay Cook.




  • 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-honored methods, diverse perspectives and modernist aesthetics

“This year’s esteemed class celebrates the visionaries, artisans and partners that have made Kentucky bourbon — and our beloved Commonwealth — the gold standard of American whiskey,” Gregory said. 

The Fred Minnick Show on Youtube streamed the whole ceremony and you can watch the full event here.

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