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Interview: Who Was Pappy Van Winkle and Why Is His Photo on a Bourbon Bottle?

Kentucky’s signature spirit is in the midst of an unprecedented popularity surge, and bourbon lovers can’t seem to get enough of one particular brand: Pappy Van Winkle.

It has won international praise, and the theft of more than 200 bottles of Pappy from the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort last year has drawn worldwide attention. The crime has not been solved.

The craze led Doug Proffitt of WHAS-11 to explore the history of Pappy Van Winkle—the man.

You canread and watch Profitt's report here. He writes:
Mike Veach of Louisville's Filson Historical Society, the only non-distilller inducted into the Bourbon Hall of Fame, says he was a force. "He was very important to the industry in his lifetime but his status is nowhere near where it is today. He was known around the world; nowadays, probably is as famous as Colonel Sanders," Veach said. Van Winkle produced Old Fitzgerald in Shively. It would be thirty years after his death before the first bottle of bourbon with the name Pappy would be created by his grandson, Julian Van Winkle III.
Listen to the interview below:WFPL's Rick Howlett talks with WHAS-11's Doug Profitt about Pappy Van Winkle

Rick Howlett was midday host and the host of LPM's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." He was with LPM from 2001-2023 and held many different titles, including Morning Edition host, Assignment Editor and Interim News Director. He died in August 2023. Read a remembrance of Rick here.

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