But Always Fine Bourbon: Pappy Van Winkle and the Story of Old Fitzgerald, by Sally Van Winkle Campbell. Louisville: Limestone Lane Press, 1999. Contents, Preface, Illustrations. Pp.211.
Julian "Pappy" Van Winkle played an important part in the history of 20th century distilling. He entered the business in the late 19th century as a salesman for W.L. Weller and Sons stayed in the industry until his death on 16 February 1965. Early in the 20th century he and Alex Farnsley gained control of W.L. Weller and Sons and by prohibition they had formed a close business relationship with the A. Ph. Stitzel Distillery. During prohibition they continued to sell whiskey for "medicinal use" to the nation. After prohibition they formally joined to form the Stitzel-Weller Distillery, Inc.
The legendary status of "Pappy" Van Winkle really takes off in the 1950's. His two partners had died and he controlled the reins of the company. He used that control to introduce extra aged versions of Old Fitzgerald and the first post prohibition barrel proof bourbon. He gave tours of the distillery and had many signs placed around the campus such as "No Chemist Allowed" and at the entrance "We Make Fine Bourbon, At A Profit If We Can, At A Loss If We Must, But Always Fine Bourbon".
Sally Campbell is the grandaughter of Pappy Van Winkle. This book is her attempt to make the rest of the world know her grandfather as a person and a businessman. She starts the book with a speech given by Pappy on his 75th birthday and then goes on to tell of his early years as a salesman for W.L. Weller and Sons. This is followed by the story of how Julian Van Winkle met Katie Smith and married. The great accomplishment of this book is the combination of this business and personal history. The book is filled with great stories about Pappy and his business practices such as why there were "No Chemist Allowed" at Stitzel-Weller, but also personal stories such as why her grandmother received the winning roses from the 1938 Kentucky Derby. It is of great interest to historians, but also a good read for those who are not that interested in history.
The book also looks nice. It is very well designed with a great layout and quality illustrations. Photographs of the family and the distillery contribute to the contents with a nice splash of color being added by label and bottle shots. This is a book that is worthy of anybody's library and the best news is she is working on a second edition that will add a chapter about her brother, Julian Van Winkle III and his continuation in the family business.
Last edited by bourbonv
on Fri Oct 22, 2004 6:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.