President - Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery
Julian Van Winkle III is the third generation Van Winkle to be involved in the Kentucky Bourbon whiskey business. His grandfather, who was known as ‘Pappy’, started the family in the business back in the 1870s when he was a salesman for the W L Weller & Sons liquor wholesalers in Louisville. He later built and was president of the Stitzel-Weller Distillery in Louisville, which opened its doors on Derby day, 1935.
Their prominent brands were W L Weller, Rebel Yell, Cabin Still and Old Fitzgerald Bourbons. Julian’s father, Julian Jr, operated the distillery until the family sold it in 1972. At that time Julian Jr started the Old Rip Van Winkle brand with some of the whiskey he made while he was at Stitzel-Weller. Julian joined his dad in 1977 and continued to operate the business after his father’s death in 1981.
Julian now has his whiskey produced for him under his grandfather’s original wheated Bourbon recipe, and ages and bottles the Old Rip Van Winkle brands in Frankfort, Kentucky. The 20-year old Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve has won numerous awards and his 13-year old rye whiskey was the first premium aged rye whiskey.
Recently, Julian’s son Preston has joined the business with his dad. He is the fourth Van Winkle to sell these premium Bourbon and rye whiskeys.