September14th2018

For Immediate Release – September 14, 2018

 

 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame today inducted three individuals into its hallowed ranks and bestowed its prestigious Parker Beam Lifetime Achievement Award on one of the industry’s most successful leaders, visionaries and champions.

 

“This year’s class truly shows the diversity of personas behind the growing Golden Age of Kentucky Bourbon, from a beloved tour guide whose wisdom and personality embodies and elevates our visitors’ experience, to the leadership and passion of three top executives who have forged the path to our current success,” said Eric Gregory, president of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association.

 

“Each, in their own way, has forever transformed our signature spirit. We are eternally grateful for their remarkable achievements, dedication and commitment to our timeless craft, and for that we offer our and commitment to our timeless craft, and for that we offer our heartfelt thanks.”

 

This year’s inductees are, in alphabetical order:

 

  • Freddie Johnson, VIP Visitor Lead, Buffalo Trace Distillery
  • The late Dr. Pearse Lyons, Founder & President, Alltech, Inc.
  • Max L. Shapira, President, Heaven Hill Brands (Lifetime Achievement)
  • Matthew J. Shattock, Chairman & CEO, Beam Suntory

 

Shapira, now in his 48th year at Heaven Hill, has quietly and steadfastly grown the legendary distillery into one of the leading spirits producers in the country, while remaining true to its independent and family-owned roots.

 

After spending his childhood growing up in the shadow of the Bardstown distillery, Shapira left the family business to earn his undergraduate degree at Washington and Lee University in 1965 and an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1967.

 

He joined his family’s company in 1970 as Director of Corporate Planning, after spending five years at Morgan Guaranty Trust (now J.P. Morgan) in New York. Shapira became president in 1996 following the death of his uncle George Shapira, the last surviving member of the five founding Shapira brothers.

 

Under Shapira’s leadership, Heaven Hill Brands has undergone steady expansion — through internal product development, brand acquisition and international growth — that has taken the company beyond its traditional roots as a Bourbon distiller.

 

Rob Samuels, eighth generation distiller, Chief Operating Officer at Maker’s Mark Distillery and Chairman of the KDA’s Board of Directors, said Shapira “exudes a degree of class and integrity that has always been a model for all of us.

 

“Max Shapira has played a crucial role in the boom that our entire industry is enjoying,” he said. “His guidance and expansion of his family’s business has helped whole generations of customers discover and appreciate Bourbon and other high-quality spirits. That’s been a benefit for the whole Commonwealth.”

 

Samuels and KDA President Gregory presented Shapira with a hand-crafted commemorative plaque in the shape of Kentucky made from barrel staves. “Max Shapira is one of the most legendary stewards of our craft, and his creativity, passion and commitment to quality are second to none,” Gregory said.

 

“Even though he has been hesitant in the past to receive much-deserved recognition, we are honored today to salute his outstanding career and lifetime’s worth of achievements. It’s safe to say that Kentucky Bourbon would not be enjoying its current success without the exemplary leadership of Max Shapira.”

 

Shapira said, “I’m truly honored to be recognized by the Kentucky Distillers’ Association and Kentucky Bourbon Festival with the Lifetime Achievement Award named after our late Master Distiller Emeritus Parker Beam.

 

“There are few better industries in this world to be, literally, born into. It is a special community with tremendous respect for our heritage and an energy for the future.”

 

The award was named in 2015 for Parker Beam, who joined Heaven Hill in 1960 as a sixth-generation distiller in his storied family. He became Master Distiller in 1975 and earned numerous awards for distilling, aging and selecting some of the world’s most acclaimed Bourbons.

 

He was named Master Distiller Emeritus in 2013 shortly after being diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease. His public advocacy for ALS research, care and awareness has generated millions for his “Promise of Hope” fund. He died in 2017 at the age of 75.

 

Founded in 1880, the KDA is the state’s voice for Bourbon and spirits issues with 40 diverse members from legendary, global brands to emerging micro distilleries that are building the next generation of America’s only native spirit.

 

Kentucky is the birthplace of Bourbon, crafting 95 percent of the world’s supply. Only the Bluegrass State has the perfect natural mix of climate, condition and pure limestone water necessary for producing the world’s greatest Bourbon.

 

Kentucky Bourbon is one of the Commonwealth’s most historic and treasured industries, a booming $8.5 billion economic engine that generates as many as 17,500 jobs with an annual payroll topping $800 million and pours $825 million into tax coffers each year.

Attendance at the KDA’s Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® distilleries has skyrocketed by 314 percent in the last 10 years. Visitors made more than 1.2 million stops at participating distilleries last year, the second straight year topping that milestone.

In addition, the industry is in the middle of a $1.2 billion building boom, from innovative new tourism centers to expanded production facilities, all to meet the growing global thirst for Kentucky Bourbon.

 

Created by the KDA in conjunction with the Kentucky Bourbon Festival in 2001, the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame recognizes individuals and organizations that have made a significant and transformational impact on Bourbon’s stature, growth and awareness.

 

It is the highest honor given by the signature industry and is presented annually during the Kentucky Bourbon Festival, which runs through Sunday in Bardstown.

 

Candidates may be nominated each year by the KDA, its member distilleries and the Kentucky Bourbon Festival from four categories: Industry, Journalism, Roll of Honor and Lifetime Achievement. Nominees are then sent to the KDA Board of Directors for final selection.

 

“The mission of the Kentucky Bourbon Festival is to support and celebrate the Bourbon industry, and we have certainly accomplished that today,” said KBF Executive Director Jill Hawkins. “We are very proud to celebrate with these individuals who have made such a tremendous impact on our beloved industry.”

The induction ceremony was held this year at the Frazier History Museum on historic Whiskey Row in downtown Louisville., which recently opened its Kentucky Bourbon Trail® Welcome Center and Spirit of Kentucky Bourbon exhibit.

 

KDA President Gregory presented each inductee with an engraved miniature copper still before an elite crowd of 150 whiskey luminaries. Each inductee’s name also was added to a Hall of Fame display at the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History in Bardstown.

 

“This is one of the most special days in our landmark history where legends officially become lore,” Gregory said. “It’s with great honor that we welcome these four gentlemen into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame and celebrate their extraordinary impact on our industry.”

 

 

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For more information, contact Eric Gregory at (502) 875-9351 or (859) 771-1050

 

Visit the Kentucky Bourbon Festival online at www.kybourbonfestival.com.

Learn more about the Kentucky Distillers’ Association at www.kybourbon.com.

 

 

Freddie Johnson

Distillery VIP Visitor Lead

Buffalo Trace Distillery

 

 

Freddie Johnson is a third-generation employee at Buffalo Trace Distillery and serves as its Distillery VIP Visitor Lead. Born in Paris, Ky., he spent some of his early childhood summers in the mountains of Breathitt County with his maternal grandfather who was a coal miner and friend to the moonshiners.

 

The family moved to Frankfort, Ky., when he was five. Freddie enjoyed hunting, fishing and hanging out with his paternal grandfather, Jimmy Johnson Sr., and father, Jimmy Johnson Jr., at what is now known as Buffalo Trace Distillery.

 

Freddie was in the middle of a successful career as a network/operations engineer in Atlanta when he put all of it aside to fulfill a promise made to his father, Jimmy, more than 20 years earlier. He had promised his father that he would work at the distillery during his lifetime so they could say they had three generations of the Johnson family that worked at Buffalo Trace.

 

Freddie took early retirement and moved back to care for his father and brother. Jimmy got him a job as a tour guide at the distillery in 2002 but Freddie has been in and around the distillery since he was five years old.

 

Freddie weaves together his childhood memories with the distillery’s rich history as he entertains thousands each year in various tours around Buffalo Trace. One of the distillery’s most popular and highly sought after tour guides, Freddie is the recipient of the 2015 ROSE (Recognition of Service Excellence) Award and the 2017 Lexington (Ky) Hospitality Award.

 

 

 

 

Dr. Pearse Lyons

Founder & President

Alltech, Inc.

 

In the late 1970s, Dr. Pearse Lyons immigrated to the United States with his young family —Deirdre, Aoife and Mark — and a dream. His vision to sustain the planet and all things living on it by applying his yeast fermentation expertise to agricultural challenges came to life in his home garage with $10,000.

 

Today, that vision is put to work by Alltech’s global team of more than 6,000 people around the world. Alltech focuses on improving animal, crop and human health and performance through its innovative use of yeast fermentation, enzyme technology and nutrigenomics.

 

Its mission has always been guided by Dr. Lyons’ early commitment to the “ACE principle” — a promise that the company’s work must have a positive impact on the Animal, the Consumer and the Environment.

 

Dr. Lyons was first and foremost an entrepreneur and a tireless innovator with a keen scientific mind. His scientific expertise, combined with an acute business sense, helped revolutionize the animal feed industry through the introduction of natural ingredients to animal feed.

 

Today, Alltech is the only privately held and family-owned business among the top animal health companies in the world.

 

The company’s reach has also grown far beyond yeast-based additives for animal feed to include award-winning beers and spirits, a crop science business and even promising research into human health challenges, such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.

 

In 1980, Dr. Lyons established The Alcohol School in Lexington, Ky., one of the few schools at that time for the distilling industry, and ran it for 25 years. He also published and co-authored “The Alcohol Textbook” that evolved over four editions and soon became a key source for the beverage, fuel and industrial alcohol industries.

 

In 1999, Dr. Lyons purchased the former Lexington Brewing Company in downtown Lexington to resurrect the city’s brewing and distilling tradition that dates back to 1794. The first beer from Dr. Lyons’ new brewery, Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co., was Kentucky Ale®.

 

Dr. Lyons established Town Branch Distillery, the first new distillery to be built in Lexington for more than 100 years, and distinguished a new facet of Kentucky’ distilling legacy by becoming the first Craft Member of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association in 2011 and joining the prestigious Kentucky Bourbon Trail® experience in 2012.

 

 

 

Matthew J. Shattock

Chairman & CEO

Beam Suntory

 

Matthew J. Shattock joined Beam Suntory, the world’s third largest premium spirits company, in March 2009 as President & CEO.

 

Since that time, Shattock has led the company’s successful growth strategy transformation, emergence as a stand-alone public company in 2011, acquisition by Suntory Holdings Limited in 2014 and the subsequent integration of the Beam and Suntory spirits businesses.

Shattock is responsible for some of the world’s most iconic spirits brands, including Jim Beam, Yamazaki, Maker’s Mark and Courvoisier, more than 20 production and commercial facilities around the world, and a global team of more than 4,000 employees.

Shattock is a veteran leader in the global consumer packaged goods industry with both U.S. and global business experience. Prior to joining Beam, he spent six years at Cadbury plc, where he led their businesses first in the Americas and then in the Europe, Middle East & Africa region.

Prior to Cadbury, Shattock spent 16 years at Unilever, an international manufacturer of food, home care and personal care products. Here he held brand development and general management positions of increasing responsibility, culminating in his role as Chief Operating Officer of Unilever Best Foods North America.

Shattock serves on the Board of Directors of Suntory Holdings, VF Corporation and The Clorox Company.

Shattock earned a bachelor of arts degree with honors from Durham University and also served as a tank troop commander in the British Army. He, his wife, Sue, and three children reside in the Chicago area.

 

 

Max L. Shapira

President

Heaven Hill Brands

 

 

After spending his childhood growing up in the shadow of his family’s Heaven Hill Distillery in Bardstown, Ky., Max L. Shapira left to earn his undergraduate degree at Washington and Lee University in 1965 and an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1967.

 

Shapira joined his family’s company in 1970 as Director of Corporate Planning, after spending five years at Morgan Guaranty Trust (now J.P. Morgan) in New York.  Shapira became president in 1996 following the death of his uncle George Shapira, the last surviving member of the five founding Shapira brothers.

 

Under Shapira’s leadership, Heaven Hill Brands has undergone steady expansion — through internal product development, brand acquisition and international growth — that has taken the company beyond its traditional roots as a Bourbon distiller.

 

Heaven Hill Brands now ranks among the leading distilled spirits suppliers in the United States and is the largest independent, family-owned and operated company in the industry.