Four new members inducted Wednesday into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame

John Hayes, left, and Elizabeth McCall, both of Brown-Forman, accept the Hall of Fame award on behalf of Chris Morris from Eric Gregory, center, president of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association. (Click images to enlarge.)
Judy Shapira, center, widow of Harry J. Shapira, and Cynthia Torp, right, accept the Hall of Fame award presented posthumously to Harry J. Shapira by Eric Gregory.

Eric Gregory of the KDA, left, and Bill Samuels Jr., present Jerry Summers of Beam Suntory with the Hall of Fame award.

Bill Samuels Jr., center, is presented with the Hall of Fame Award and the Parker Beam Lifetime Achievement Award with Eric Gregory, left and Nick Nicholson, former president of Keeneland.


Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017 — In an intimate ceremony held at My Old Kentucky Home State Park Wednesday, the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame honored four Bourbon professionals for their years of unparalleled service and outstanding contributions to Kentucky’s most renowned industry. Presented by the Kentucky Distillers’ Association and the Kentucky Bourbon Festival, this year’s roster of honorees included three Hall of Fame inductees, and only the third-ever recipient of the Parker Beam Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Hall of Fame inductees included:

  • Chris Morris, Brown-Forman Corporation;
  • T. William Samuels Jr., Maker’s Mark Distillery (Parker Beam Lifetime Achievement Award)
  • Harry J. Shapira, Heaven Hill Brands, Inc.
  • Jerry Summers, Beam Suntory

“Year after year, I continue to be inspired by the immense intelligence, creativity, and perseverance of our Hall of Fame inductees,” said Eric Gregory, president of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association.

“They are the true visionaries of our industry, known for modernizing the business of Bourbon and for paving the way for future generations of innovators, connoisseurs, and enthusiasts to share our vision. We couldn’t be more proud to honor their many triumphs and help share their stories with the world.”

Formally launched in 2001, the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame salutes individuals and organizations for making significant and transformational contributions to the global growth and sustainability of the Bourbon industry. Induction into the Hall of Fame is considered to be the highest honor within the close-knit industry, as well as a formal celebration of the many remarkable achievements that have propelled Kentucky Bourbon into worldwide success.

“It’s fitting that we honor exceptional professionals like these, who’ve helped Bourbon Country become the center of the American spirits industry, during the Kentucky Bourbon Festival each year,” said Jill Hawkins, executive director of the Kentucky Bourbon Festival.

“The Festival was founded on celebrating and promoting the incredible history of Bourbon, and these people are a huge part of that story. It’s only right that their achievements be enshrined in The Bourbon Capital of the World.”



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