The Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame Honors Six New Members

The 2019 Inductees to the Bourbon Hall of Fame.

The Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame welcomed six new members in a ceremony at last week’s Kentucky Bourbon Festival, bestowing a prestigious Parker Beam Lifetime Achievement Award on one of the honorees.

Induction into the Bourbon Hall of Fame is one of the industry’s highest honors, with a class traditionally being named each year during Bourbon Heritage Month. The honorees were presented with a still-shaped copper trophy from the Kentucky Distillers Association at a ceremony at My Old Kentucky Home State Park.

This year’s inductees, pictured left to right above, are as follows.

  • Peggy Noe Stevens, Founder & President, Peggy Noe Stevens & Associates
  • Larry Kass, Director of Trade Relations (Ret.), Heaven Hill Distillery
  • Even G. Kulsveen, Executive Director, Willett Distillery (Lifetime Achievement Award)
  • Charles W. Medley, Master Distiller, Medley Distilling Co./Charles Medley Distillery
  • Wesley Henderson, Co-Founder/Chief Innovation Officer, Louisville Distilling Co.
  • Katrina Egbert, Visitor Center Marketing Coordinator, Wild Turkey Distillery

The Kentucky Distillers Association honored Kulsveen with a Parker Beam Lifetime Achievement Award. Norwegian-born Kulsveen and his wife Martha Willett purchased the Willett Distillery from her father in 1984. Americans weren’t buying up too much bourbon at the time, but Kulsveen’s focus on customer service to export markets served Willett well. He even took Japanese classes at night to ensure he could offer his overseas clients well-aged single barrel and small batch bourbon whiskey. The distillery remains independently family owned today, under the leadership of Kulsveen’s son Drew and daughter Britt.

“Even has demonstrated disciplined leadership, strategic decision-making and bold forward-thinking ” said Rick Robinson, Chairman of the KDA Board of Directors. “He has built a family legacy that will last for generations to come, and we thank him for his significant contributions to Kentucky’s booming Bourbon industry.”

“Even has worked on all sides of this industry from bartending to distribution to imports,” noted KDA President Eric Gregory. “His intricate knowledge of marketing, along with his principled work ethic, enabled him to build brands and cultivate the type of loyalty that drives consistent consumer demand.”

Click here to see the full list of members of the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame.

Caroline Paulus is the Senior Editor for The Bourbon Review. She lives and writes in Lexington, Kentucky. Follow her on Instagram @misswhiskeyhistorian to keep up with her latest in bourbon news - and a few old finds, too.