The Oscar Getz Museum is thisnking about putting up a "Wall of Fame" to honor people who have contributed to the distilling industry to a point that they changed the industry as we know it. What I am about to do is to open a real can of worms by stating who I think should be the first six people to be honored and why. I am also going to name some other people who should be honored in the future. I am also going to ask you to nominate candidates but you have support your nomination with some facts. Once I have a good list then we can put together some kind of committee to decide who will go on the wall.
The people honored will have a plaque with their name, dates (birth and death if known) and their contribtions to the industry. If an image of the person can be found, we wil also have an image on the wall.
Here are my top six choices for the wall:
1) James Crow: His contributions are well known. He brought the industry into the modern world with improved sceintific methods to study the process of fermentation and distilling.
2) George Garvin Brown: His importance is in the marketing revolution of the late 19th century. His creation of Old Forester so that it was sold only in the bottle led to improved quality standards and eventually the Bottled-in-Bond Act.
3) E.H. Taylor: This man was the moving force behind the Bottled-in-Bond Act. Bonded whiskey changed the way the consumer bought whiskey and improved the standard by which whiskey was measured.
4)I W Bernheim: His contribution is not to the industry and the product so much as to the public perception of the industry. He returned to the community with such gifts as Bernheim Forest, Statues in Kentucky and Washington D.C. and even gifts of coal to the poor of Paducah during a severe winter. His generosity earns him a place on the wall.
5) Bill Samuels Jr.: Bill is an ambassador for the industry without equal. His selfless promotion of the industry alone would earn him a place on the wall. He is also a very important factor in the creation of the super premium bourbon market.
6) Elmer T. Lee: Elmer helped create the concept of Single Barrel Bourbon that feuled the growth that has come to the industry in the last 2 decades.
These are the six I wish to honor the first year. Here are some others that should be considered:
1) Oscar Getz: His effort to save the heritage of the industry earn him a place on the wall. I would put him in the first six except that I don't want to appear to play favorites and I don't want people to think that this just some way for the museum to blow its own horn.
2) James E. Pepper: He played an important part in the marketing revolution of the late 19th century by using advertising slogans (Born with the Republic) and strip stamps to seal the bottle with his signature. He was also one of the first distillers to bottle whiskey at the distillery.
3)Mary Dowling: A female distiller who took her Waterfill and Frasier brand to Mexico during prohibition. She definitely deserves some consideration.
4) W L Weller: Not only the founder of the oldest surviving whiskey company he was also one of the founders of the Baptist Orphan's Home in Louisville and played a very active role in the administration of the home.
I am sure you can think of other people and why they should be honored so I will wait now for your replies.