September 27, 2023 2:23 pm

Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame Ceremony

Eight New Members Inducted

Colleges and universities have Homecoming. Southern churches have Dinner on the Grounds. The Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame has its annual induction ceremony. It’s where the bourbon industry gathers each year to thank and honor its newest class of inductees. (And this year, it included lunch.)

The Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame inducted eight new members today at a ceremony and lunch at The Legacy at Log Still Distillery and Dant Crossing, south of Bardstown. The Kentucky Distillers’ Association (KDA) created the Hall 22 years ago. KDA officials said this year’s varied inductees included “distillery founders and craftsmen, influential government leaders, a groundbreaking activist and the first father and son to share the prestigious honor in the same class.”

The 2023 Class of The Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame: From left to right: (Back) Joseph J. Magliocco, Dean Watts, Dinah Tischy (daughter of the late Dixie Sherman Demuth), Trey Zoeller, Chester 'Chet' Zoeller, Greg Fischer, Pete Kamer, (Front) Suzanne Schrecker (daughter of the late Dixie Sherman Demuth), and Jerry O. Dalton. (Photo by Jennifer Schoenagge)

The KDA inducts a new class each year of “individuals and organizations that have made a significant and transformational impact on Bourbon’s stature, growth and awareness.”

This family reunion of the Kentucky bourbon industry gets bigger each year. More than 300 invited guests included Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, past inductees into the Hall, and many of the most famous names working in the bourbon business today. Inductee Trey Zoeller surveyed the crowd during his acceptance speech and said, “I look around and see the stalwarts of the (bourbon) industry here today.”

The day was full of more than a few tearful introductions and acceptance speeches. Several people referenced the “dark days of the bourbon industry” more than 30 years ago when “you couldn’t give bourbon away.” Appreciation, applause, and standing ovations were given to the many people in the room responsible for the unprecedented success the bourbon industry is experiencing today.

Kentucky Distillers Association President Eric Gregory said, “On behalf of the KDA, we offer our deepest thanks and heartfelt gratitude to this year’s inductees for their distinguished service to our industry and our beloved Commonwealth. We are an industry built on friendship and collaboration, and this year’s class is a testament to that tradition.”

Whiskey Network Magazine was honored to be among the media members in attendance to cover this important annual event.

Today’s event kicks off a week of the biggest events in the bourbon world. The Kentucky Bourbon Festival in Bardstown and the Bourbon & Beyond music festival in Louisville both start tomorrow.

“I look around and see the stalwarts of the (bourbon) industry here today.”

Photos by Brian G. Miller

Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame 2023 Inductees

·       Dr. Jerry O. Dalton, retired Master Distiller, Jim Beam. A 22-year industry veteran, Dalton worked as a chemist for Barton Brands before moving to Jim Beam where he spent 12 years, finishing out his career as Master Distiller succeeding the legendary Booker Noe. 

·    The late Mrs. Dixie Sherman Demuth, Owner, Dixie’s Elbow Room. A bar owner in the 1950s, Demuth took her fight for women’s rights to the Kentucky Court of Appeals, which overturned a 200-year-old law to allow women to serve and enjoy alcohol in a public bar. 

·       Mr. Greg Fischer, former Mayor of Louisville, Ky. As a three-term mayor, Fischer is hailed for coining and promoting “Bourbonism,” a burgeoning hospitality movement focused on Louisville’s leading position in the Bourbon, tourism and local food scenes.

·       Mr. Pete Kamer, Owner, Distillery Engineering. After retiring from a 45-year industry career with Seagram’s and Barton Distillery, Kamer started a leading consulting business that has helped launch dozens of distilling companies, including many Kentucky craft distilleries.

·       Mr. Joseph J. Magliocco, President & CEO, Michter’s Distillery. Celebrating an industry career that spans 40 years, Magliocco resurrected the storied Michter’s brand and brought it to Kentucky, helping to lead the Whiskey Row renaissance in downtown Louisville.

·       Mr. Dean Watts, Former Nelson County Judge-Executive. As the longest serving judge-executive in Nelson County history, Watts created a hospitable economic environment for the industry to flourish and welcomed several new distilleries during his 28 years in office.

·       Mr. Chester ‘Chet’ Zoeller, Author, Historian and Co-founder, Jefferson’s Bourbon. After years of research, Zoeller wrote Bourbon in Kentucky, a comprehensive publication of his findings, cataloging nearly 1,000 distillers and brands across the Bluegrass State.

·       Mr. Trey Zoeller, Founder, Whiskey Maker & Chief Strategist, Jefferson’s Bourbon. Since founding Jefferson’s Bourbon in 1997, Trey has developed dozens of award-winning Bourbon and rye expressions using unique blending and maturation techniques.

(Biographies provided by the Kentucky Distillers’ Association.)

Photo by Brian G. Miller

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