Last night the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame inducted William Howard Taft as its 67th member. This was a special induction ceremony to honor the centennial of the Taft Decision and it was held at the Governor's Mansion and Governor and his wife were hosts. Governor Taft of Ohio had to cancel at the last minute so I was drafted to accept the award for President taft, but the still will go to the Taft house in Cincy.
The event started at 5:30. I arrived a little after 5:00 and walked to the mansion with Harlen Wheatly from Buffalo Trace. The ceremony was on the first floor of the mansion. There was a bar with all of the KDA distilleries represented and food spread out in another room and then in another room a seperate bar for wine and beer. The distillers were well represented with Harlan, Jimmy Russell, Kevin Smith, Fred Noe and Tom Bulleit. Former Governor Julian Carroll was there as well as several other state representative and lobbyist. The ceremony was to start at 6:40 but the Governor did not arrive until 6:45 so it was about 20 minutes late in getting started. Pam Gover from the Bourbon Festival opened the ceremony and then Eric Gregory made some comments, introduced the KDA representatives, other Hall of Fame members and then the Governor Bashear.
The Governor had a very good presentation. He poked fun at Jimmy Russell saying that Jimmy served President Taft his first bourbon. He then spoke about the hopes he has to aid the Bourbon industry. Eric then took back the microphone and awarded the membership to Taft. I accepted and read the letter from Taft to Kentucky Gov. Augustus Willson that is in the Filson's collection. I then pointed out that this decision was really made to protect Kentucky's whiskey reputation and because of this protection, William Howard Taft is the Father of Modern Bourbon.
"Our people live almost exclusively on whiskey" - E H Taylor, Jr. 25 April 1873