Who needs the Oscar Getz Museum? I propose that we create our own Straight Bourbon Hall of Fame to honor those persons who have made the greatest contributions to the advancement of the American whiskey industry. Submit your nominations and we will compose a ballot to choose the initial class of honorees. Let's say it's a top ten.
At this stage, let's just make nominations and avoid commenting on other people's nominations.
I nominate (with credit to Mike for everything I have stolen from his list):
1) James Crow: For bringing the industry into the modern world with improved sanitation, the introduction of the sour mash process, and the routine aging of his whiskey in new, charred oak barrels.
2) George Garvin Brown: For pioneering the use of modern brand marketing techniques in his policy of selling Old Forester only in bottles to ensure its quality.
3) E.H. Taylor: For his importance in financing and organizing many of the distilling companies of central Kentucky, and for his industry leadership in promotion of the Bottled-in-Bond Act.
4)I W Bernheim: For his philanthropy, which helped enhance the industry's image among the public.
5) Fredrick Stitzel: For inventing and patenting the barehouse rick system. Possibly for popularizing wheat-based bourbon.
7) Joseph L. Beam: For the sheer number of different distilleries for which he and the seven sons he sired and trained made whiskey, and in particular for forming and leading the group that ultimately founded Heaven Hill.
8) John Bernard Wathen: For his leadership in the distillery industry from 1863 until his death in 1919, and for popularizing the Old Grand-Dad brand.
Obviously, I think every nomination should include a short case in support of the nominee.