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Pappy Van Winkle Descendants Carve New Bourbon Lifestyle Path

The Van Winkle family name easily can be considered royalty among bourbon lovers, courtesy of the obsessive craze centered around any bottling which ends up falling under the Pappy Van Winkle brand. Is it possible this same consumer desire could expand to bourbon lifestyle products as well? That seems to be what three fourth generation Van Winkle sisters aim to find out, courtesy of their retail company Pappy & Company. As they put it, “our legacy of bourbon has always been a long and proud tradition. Even as we each embarked on our own careers and ventures, the family business always seemed to call our name.”

Carrie Van Winkle Greener, Chenault Van Winkle James and Louise Van Winkle Breen, pictured below, created their company as “a fun and creative way to not only be a part of the Pappy legacy and heritage, but to offer it to our friends and fellow aficionados.” Their website, to this end, sells a range of products, some of them with the family name on them, to cater to bourbon lovers. We’ve covered a couple of them already, such as a high gift set made from reclaimed Pappy Van Winkle bourbon barrel wood and some fancy cigars.

Van Winkle Sisters
image via Pappy & Company

To learn more about Pappy & Company, we caught up with Carrie Van Winkle Greener over email to ask her a few questions on her family legacy and this new retail venture:

The Whiskey Wash (TWW): The Van Winkle name in bourbon lore is obviously very famous. What does it mean to you to be part of that legacy?

Carrie Van Winkle Greener (CVW): As time goes by, I am realizing how special it is to be a part of something that will be remembered. Mainly for our own family history. Heritage is so easily lost or forgotten over generations and to be able to have ours documented is pretty awesome.

To the outside world, our story might seem bigger than what it really is, but to our family it’s just the way it’s always been. We work hard, believe in what we do, hold true to our standards and the rest plays out naturally. It feels good to be a part of something that is authentic and represents who we are.

TWW: For you and your sisters, what was the idea behind starting Pappy & Company?

CVW: Honestly, it was to fill the need for merchandise for such a popular bourbon brand as well as to get involved in the family business in a fun and creative way. It has evolved into a thoughtful mix of hand crafted, well made, limited quantity products that honor our family tradition and standards of quality over quantity.

TWW: How does the relationship work between your company and Buffalo Trace, who distills and bottles your namesake’s bourbon, it terms of sharing the name and such on products in the market?

CVW: I founded Pappy & Company with my two sisters and it is a separate entity from our family’s bourbon brand. We have an exclusive licensing agreement with Old Rip Van Winkle who has ownership of the bourbon brand, although they are in partnership with the Buffalo Trace Distillery to distill and bottle their products.

TWW: What is the “bourbon lifestyle” in your words and how do you see your company playing into that?

CVW: Pappy & Company is dedicated to the finer things that enhance the lifestyle of a bourbon drinker, like our perfectly shaped rocks glass that fits comfortably in your hand or our multi purpose barrel stave bowl that casually holds fruit on a kitchen table or hors d’oeuvres at a cocktail party. We have created a place for bourbon lovers and aficiondos to find things that mean something to them, and can make their experience that much better.

TWW: What are some of your favorite products currently for sale through your website?

CVW: My favorite are the specialty items, like our handsome gift set made out of Pappy barrels by Heritage Handcrafted in North Carolina. It is one of a kind, and holds a custom crystal decanter, two crystal tasting glasses, and 4 private label cigars from our collaboration with Drew Estate in Esteli, Nicaragua.

Pappy & Company Gift Set
image via Pappy & Company

Also, we are launching a maple syrup this summer in collaboration with Bissell Maple Farm in Ohio. They are a small family run business who make some of the best syrup around, so that combined with aging it in Pappy 23 year barrels means something special! Cant wait for that.

TWW: What’s in your personal stash of whiskey at home and what are some of your favorites?

CVW: To tell the truth, I don’t have much of a stash to speak of. I have a few bottles of 10 year and maybe a bottle of 15 year Pappy? People think we have an endless supply of our family bourbon on our bars, but that’s not the case! W.L. Weller is a staple in our cabinet, not Van Winkle. I know a good whiskey when I taste it, but i’m not a connoisseur and usually only drink it with dessert.

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Nino Kilgore-Marchetti

Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the founder of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and provided tasting input on many whiskeys at competitions. He also maintains a large private collection of whiskey from which he continually educates his palate on this brown spirit type.

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