The Bourbon Show Hall of Fame
The Bourbon Show Hall of Fame is designed to celebrate individuals who have bettered the world of bourbon or The Bourbon Show. Our objective is to recognize the people that are contributing to our goal of being a resource to the bourbon community. Ultimately, the Bourbon Show Hall of Fame belongs to our fans. Priority is given to nominations from listeners over staff. Our slogan is, "It's your Hall of Fame," and we mean it when we say it.
The Nomination Process
Listeners are encouraged to nominate someone... whether they are a historical bourbon figure, contemporary from the world of bourbon or someone contributing to the betterment of The Bourbon Show. To nominate someone, simply email the person’s name and justification to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Bourbon Show Hall of Fame is graciously sponsored by RoundTable Woodworks. RoundTable provides the award for our winners: a Glencairn glass etched with The Bourbon Show Hall of Fame logo, the inductees name and number in which they entered the Hall. RoundTable Woodworks can provide etching with the logo of your choice on it for your glassware along with customized woodworking products. Check them out at: roundtablewoodworks.com.
Hall of Fame Inductees (Note: Included is their introductory comments)
#1 Christine Riggleman
Our inductee today is the perfect choice because not only is she an exceptional leader and distiller, but also an amazing person. Her character is unimpeachable, and you will often find her connecting and chatting with customers on busy Saturdays in her tasting room. She is a leader in the craft distilling industry, and has garnished eleven international awards in just two and a half years being open. Someday, she will be a household name.
Nominated by: Lauren Riggleman
#2 Jimmy Russell
Our inductee today is one of the most recognizable people in bourbon. He’s had a career that has spanned for some 60+ years. He was part of the inaugural class for the Bourbon Hall of Fame and last year was inducted for a second time as tip of the hat to his lifetime of achievement in the bourbon industry. He’s a three time Kentucky Colonel and the mastermind behind an iconic brand.
Nominated by: Steve Akley
#3 Chuck Cowdery
Our inductee today is one of the most recognizable people covering bourbon today. He is an internationally renowned whiskey writer, specializing in American whiskey. He is a Kentucky Colonel, and a member of the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame. He is the author of BOURBON, STRANGE: Surprising Stories of American Whiskey; AND BOURBON, STRAIGHT: AND the producer/director of the documentary "Made and Bottled in Kentucky." Our inductee was also a contributor to the book 1001 Whiskies You Must Taste Before You Die. He is a regular contributor to The Whisky Advocate Magazine, AND is editor and publisher of The Bourbon Country Reader, the oldest publication dedicated exclusively to American whiskey.
Nominated by: Evan Haskill
#4 Freddie Johnson
Our inductee today is a third generation distillery employee. As a tour guide he's known as the absolute best and people will literally plan their vacations around when he will be at the distillery giving tours. He brings a passion for his job and a conduit into the history of our favorite distilled spirit with the stories he shares from his father and grandfather. His family also played an important role in removing barriers facing African Americans. His grandfather was the first African American warehouse foreman in the State of Kentucky and his father was the first African American warehouse supervisor in the state.
Nominated by: Jess Rubin
#5 Trey Zoeller
Our inductee today got into the bourbon business in 1997 buying up excess bourbon stocks in a time when the business wasn’t experiencing the interest it does today. By blending these barrels, our inductee created some of the most unique and coveted offerings in the business. Today, innovation and experimentation continue to be a cornerstone of this individual’s contribution to the world of bourbon. As one of the most recognized names in the world of bourbon, this person helped this show become recognized in the bourbon community as a place to go to talk bourbon and promote our products when he came on as a guest on the fifth show which makes it completely awesome to have him as our Hall of Fame nominee #5.
Nominated by: Steve Akley & Evan Haskill
#6 Tony Freund
Our inductee today is our first is our first ever superfan to make the Hall. This is perfect since our nominee is the first person to ever fit the designation of a super of the ABV Network. This individual literally supports every endeavor we are involved in, from listening to all shows, to buying from every show sponsor, to being a patron on our Patreon page. We've enjoyed having him on several episodes of The Bourbon Daily as well.
Nominated by: The Bourbon Show
#7 Julian Van Winkle
Our inductee today comes from a legendary bourbon family. This person’s family history in bourbon goes back some 134 years with his grandfather going to work for a distillery he would eventually buy. This individual followed his father and grandfather into the business where our inductee and his father would start their own brand after his legendary grandfather’s business was sold. Today, our inductee’s bourbon is the gold standard by which all other bourbons are compared.
Nominated by: The Bourbon Show
#8 Marianne Barnes
Our inductee today, started off her career learning the business from the legendary Chris Morris. In 2015, she left the stability of Brown-Forman to embark on her own as a Master Distiller for the distillery that would become Castle & Key. This bold move made her the first female master distiller in Kentucky since Prohibition. She appeared on the Bourbon Show episode #10 where she engaged Steve, Seth and Evan with her knowledge, humor and charm.
Nominated by: Renee Howe
#9 Bill Samuels, Jr.
As a seventh generation "whiskey man" our inductee today has one of the longest family histories in the business. He wasn't always in the industry, though. His career began as a rocket scientist where he worked on the Polaris missile. Eventually, the family business would come calling and he started working at the distillery with his father before taking over the reigns in 1975. Under his guidance, the family company became one of the most recognized bourbon brands in the world. After retiring in 2011, our inductee still serves his company, and the industry, as a goodwill ambassador.
Nominated by: Gavin Bosco
#10 Evan Haskill
Our inductee today is a person known for his outgoing personality and love for bourbon. He was an original member of The Bourbon Show and founding member of the ABV Network. He has since moved on but his impact on this show and network will never be forgotten.
Nominated by: Steve Akley
#11 Al Young
Our nominee today began his legendary career in 1967. Working side-by-side with Bourbon Hall of Famer Jim Rutledge, this person helped bring Four Roses to the respected company we see today. In 2007, this individual switched roles from Distillery Manager to Brand Ambassador. Since that time, he has crisscrossed the US and the globe promoting the Four Roses brand directly to customers. 2017 has been an amazing year for this 50 year industry veteran. A Limited Edition Small Batch bourbon named after him has been widely recognized as one of the best, if not the best bourbon release of 2017.
Nominated by: Jess Rubin
#12 Eddie Russell
On June 5, 1981, our inductee began working with his legendary father at the distillery his father turned into one of the top-selling brands in the world. Working side-by-side with his Hall of Fame Dad, this individual too became one of the most respected people in the industry making the Bourbon Hall of Fame himself in 2010. In 2015 he was promoted to the position of master distiller, a job he holds to this day along with his father.
Nominated by: Mark Hansen
#13 Brad Boswell
On inductee is the fourth generation in a family business that started business in 1912. His company is the leader in providing barrels to the bourbon industry and they are recognized for their innovation and dedication to their customers. Our inductee was one of the first guests on this show and his company has remained supporters of the program ever since.
Nominated by: Charlie Robertson
#14 Brent Elliott
Our inductee spent 10 years working in quality control learning under a legendary master distiller prior to taking the job himself in 2015. His first offering, a limited edition small batch bottling named after him took the bourbon world by storm. This year has brought him even greater accolades with two incredible limited edition offerings with one of those vying for The Bourbon Show’s Bourbon of the Year. In additional to all of his accolades, our inductee has been a guest on this show where he proved to be incredibly warm and welcoming, insightful and funny.
Nominated by: Brandy Hansen
#15 Ms. Joretta Russell
Our inductee is the matriarch of the legendary Russell family of Wild Turkey fame. In fact, she was the first Russell family member in the industry having worked at Old Ripy Distillery, which would become Wild Turkey even before her future husband Mr. Jimmy Russell worked there. She famously recognized her now famous son Eddie Russell would be the last potential chance to carry on a family tradition of working for Wild Turkey when her two older children elected to take a career path outside of the industry. She gave Eddie two choices for a career… A, he could work at Wild Turkey… or, B, he would work at Wild Turkey. If you have ever attended an event with Jimmy Russell in Kentucky, more than likely you will see our inductee with him, sitting in the background and supporting him as he tells his bourbon tales.
#16 Mr. Seth P. Brown
In July of 2016, our inductee started talking with Steve Akley about starting a podcast company. As they hashed out how to get started they ended up bringing in Bourbon Show Hall of Famer Evan Haskill to join the mix. Ultimately, the trio of Akley, Haskill and today’s inductee would put together a show that was entertaining, informative and brought some of the biggest names from the world of bourbon onto the program for interviews. While his busy personal life caused him to step down in March of 2017, he remains an important part of the ABV Network family.
#17 Mr. Caleb Kilburn
This inductee made a real splash in the whiskey world with the release of his first offering as a head distiller in 2017. This two year old rye gave promise to what lies ahead for both him personally as well as his company. As we prepare for the release of his first bourbon offering which hopefully will be coming in 2018, we wonder how early we’ll have to get in line to get a bottle.
#18 Mr. Tracy Napolitano & Ms. Barbara Hirsch
Today marks the first time we have two people going in as a tandem. Our inductees have taken the bourbon world by storm with the New Orleans Bourbon Festival, an event they began putting on in 2017. The New Orleans Bourbon Festival combines the city’s historic ties to bourbon with a thirst for knowledge, bourbon legends, food pairings and always fine bourbon. Our husband and wife team works tirelessly to ensure every aspect of what they do is done from the bourbon fans’ perspective.