These are the names that make up bourbon’s illustrious pedigree.
Evan Williams is considered Kentucky’s first distiller, according to legend, Williams set up his stills on the banks of the Ohio River in Louisville in 1783.
Rev. Elijah Craig was a late-1700s Baptist preacher, teacher and distiller, often (but erroneously) credited as the inventor of bourbon whiskey.
Henry McKenna is another important early name. He brought his family’s whiskey recipe with him from Ireland in 1837.
J.T.S. Brown was the older brother by 20 years of bourbon great George Gavin Brown of the Louisville-based Brown-Forman wine and spirits corporation that started making bourbon in 1870.
Old Forester is another name with a change over time. This famed Brown-Forman product is named after Dr. William Forrester of Louisville, a renowned Civil War physician.
Basil Hayden Sr. moved from Maryland to Nelson County, Ky., in 1785. His bourbon was created with more rye than most, and his taste was honored by his grandson’s creation of Old Grand-Dad.
Col. James B. Beam is the man behind the Jim Beam label, which appeared in 1933 to honor the man who rebuilt the distillery after Prohibition.
Frederick Booker Noe II is the name behind Booker Noe’s, a bourbon named for the grandson of distiller Jim Beam.
Elmer T. Lee, a master distiller emeritus at Buffalo Trace, helped create the first single-barrel bourbon, in the modern sense.
Pappy Van Winkle is the man behind Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve and other Van Winkle bourbons now produced in a joint venture with Buffalo Trace.
W. L. Weller is a distilling great with a long and important business history, a brand named after Weller and variations on it are currently made at Buffalo Trace Distillery.
T. W. Samuels founded a family occupation when he started a distillery in 1844 at Samuels Depot, Ky. His descendant Bill Samuels Sr. revised the bourbon recipe, coming up with the name Maker’s Mark.
Rufus Mathewson Rose along with his brother Origen, and their two sons, established the Four Roses Brand in 1888. Their Lawrenceburg, Kentucky distillery was built in 1910.