Franklin County, Ky – Julian P. Van Winkle III has been awarded the James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine and Spirits Professional. Van Winkle, president of Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery, is a third generation bourbon scion and the first James Beard winner from Kentucky.
The award is given to a “winemaker, brewer or spirits professional who has had a significant impact on the wine and spirits nationwide.” Van Winkle, who is responsible for such iconic bourbon brands such as the Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 20 and 23 year old Bourbon Whiskey, grew up running around on his grandfather’s Stitzel-Weller Distillery in Louisville, Ky. He has been in charge of the family’s bourbon operations since 1981.
This is the third time Van Winkle has been nominated for the James Beard Award. Called “the Oscars of the food world,” the James Beard Foundation Awards are the country’s most coveted honor for chefs, food and beverage professionals, broadcast media, journalists, and authors working on food, as well as restaurant architects and designers.