Rosemary and I attended the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame induction ceremony this year. I have only missed one such induction ceremony since 2005. It was a very good ceremony with a great group of inductees this year. The following people were made members of this group this year:

  1. Jerry Dalton: A person that I was surprised was not already a member. He had a long career as a Master Distiller, first for the Barton Distillery and then for the Jim Beam Distillery. He took over Beam after the passing of Booker Noe.
  2. Pete Kramer: An engineer who specializes in building distilleries. He is a very popular teacher at the Moonshine University and helped many artisan distilleries get started with great advice and hard work.
  3. Joseph J. Magliocco: One of the brothers who own Chatham Imports, Joe purchased the Michter’s trademark in the 1990s and saved the brand from the rubbish heap of history. Joe has rebuilt the brand Michter’s to a status that it had never achieved when it was first created.
  4. Trey Zoeller: Trey and his father Chet founded the Jefferson’s Reserve brand in the 1990s. Trey is well known for his innovation in the aging of Bourbon and is most famous for his idea of sending barrels of Bourbon on an Ocean voyage to re-create the 19th century style of Bourbon found in California after making the long voyage by sea to the west coast.
  5. Chester “Chet” Zoeller: This was a first for the Hall of Fame – father and son inductees. Chet would have earned his way in from the founding of Jefferson’s Reserve with Trey, but was honored for his historical knowledge and writing. He is the author of Bourbon in Kentucky, a book that is well respected by everyone in the industry.
  6. The late Dixie Sherman Demuth: Dixie was a woman who changed Kentucky law making it possible for women to be served at the bar and to work as servers of alcohol. She purchased a bar she named “Dixie’s Elbow Room” in the late 1960s when the law was that women could not work as servers of alcohol or even be served as a customer at the bar. She challenged the law and after a long fight, won the battle in 1972. 
  7. Greg Fischer: The former Mayor of Louisville was honored for his support of the Bourbon industry in Louisville. He is credited with the creation of the term “Bourbonism” and supported the efforts of distilleries building in the city of Louisville and the creation of the Urban Bourbon Trail.
  8. Dean Watts: The former Nelson County Judge-Executive was honored for a similar reason as Greg Fisher. Dean Watts played a huge role during his 28 years in office, supporting the Bourbon industry in Nelson County, helping bail out the Kentucky Bourbon Festival when it found itself in financial difficulty in the late 1990s and helping many new distilleries built in Nelson County during his term of office.

This is an impressive class of inductees. Now I would love to see the Kentucky Bourbon Hall Fame take that next step and have a permanent home. It would be nice to have a museum where a Bourbon fan could go and learn more about each inductee and why they were chosen to be a member. After over twenty years, there are enough members to make this an interesting place to visit. Give each member a place with their image and the information as to what they did to be honored. I am sure that there are many people who would love to come to Kentucky to find out more about such people as Booker Noe, Parker Beam, Al Young and all of the other members of the Hall of Fame. I am sure that there is an empty building in Louisville on “Whiskey Row” or in Bardstown near the square, that could become this museum. It just has to be done.

Photo Courtesy of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association and Rosemary Miller