Bourbon’s Future: The Next Generation
by Fred Minnick
On the bottling lines, in the barrel warehouses, and in the tasting panels, there’s a crop of Kentucky bourbon youngsters slowly becoming the future of America’s most-celebrated spirit. Like the generation before them, they respect the great bourbon names and revel in the shadows of the likes of Heaven Hill’s Parker Beam and Wild Turkey’s Jimmy Russell. Bourbon’s youth does not fall into the “iPhone brain” millennial sinkhole that perplexes university professors. These 20-somethings give firm handshakes, know their history, and understand that Kentucky’s treasured new charred oak love affair begins with distiller collegiality and ends with damn good whiskey. While conglomerate liquor companies will buy and sell bourbon brands in the coming years—they always do—these six Kentucky workers are the spirit’s future.