LOUISVILLE, Ky.– More than 350 spirits industry professionals joined the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) in honoring industry leaders at an awards dinner at the DISCUS inaugural conference in Louisville, Ky. The event, emceed by Fred Minnick, Wall Street Journal-bestselling author, bourbon curator and taster, took place on Tuesday evening at the Omni Hotel in Louisville, Ky.

Award recipients included DISCUS Top Shelf Award winner, Congressman John Yarmuth; DISCUS Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Sazerac Company Chairman William Goldring; DISCUS Dave Pickerell Memorial Craft Member of the Year award winner, Co-Founder and CEO of St. Augustine Distillery Philip McDaniel; and DISCUS Chairman’s Leadership Award winner, Wild Turkey® Master Distiller Jimmy Russell.

“The spirits industry is filled with outstanding leaders who push our industry forward,” said Chris Swonger, DISCUS president and CEO. “It was an honor to recognize our best and brightest for their efforts to support not only our industry but the men and women who work within it. Each recipient is well-deserving, and we are proud to celebrate their success.”

Each award was created by Vendome Copper and Brass Works, manufacturer of handcrafted batch and continuous distillation systems of all sizes. Vendome is a sponsor of the DISCUS Inaugural Conference.

Award and Recipient Information

DISCUS Top Shelf Award – Congressman John Yarmuth (D-Ky.)

The DISCUS Top Shelf Award is given to an outstanding legislator, regulator or official that has been a friend to the spirits industry and helped advance the DISCUS mission.

House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth represents Kentucky’s Third Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Now in his seventh term, the chairman has been recognized for his work to improve education, expand access to affordable health care and revitalize manufacturing in Louisville. Full bio here.

DISCUS Lifetime Achievement Award – William Goldring, chairman, Sazerac Company, Inc.

The DISCUS Lifetime Achievement Award honors an individual who supports the industry during their lifetime through significant innovation and promotion of the industry, commercial strategy, advocacy or responsibility.

“Bill” Goldring is a lifelong New Orleans resident who joined his father’s beverage alcohol business at an early age. He quickly became a tenacious marketer while building a far-reaching network of companies in the beverage alcohol business. Today, Goldring is chairman of Sazerac Company and chairman of Crescent Crown Distributing. Full bio here.

DISCUS Dave Pickerell Memorial Craft Member of the Year – Philip McDaniel, co-founder and CEO, St. Augustine Distillery

The DISCUS Dave Pickerell Memorial Craft Member of the Year award is in memory of Dave Pickerell, the “Johnny Appleseed of craft distilling” and is awarded to a leader in advancing the craft distiller community and supporting the association with its advocacy efforts. 

As the co-founder and CEO of St. Augustine Distillery, Philip has helped lead local, state legislative and federal initiatives to grow Florida’s burgeoning craft spirits industry. Since opening in 2014, the company to become one of the most visited distilleries in America, hosting more than 600,000 visitors and winning numerous national and international spirit awards. Full bio here.

DISCUS Chairman’s Leadership Award – Jimmy Russell, master distiller, Wild Turkey®

The DISCUS Chairman’s Leadership Award is the highest recognition for individual achievement to acknowledge and celebrate exemplary leadership and positive impact on advancing the spirits industry.  

Dubbed the “Buddha of Bourbon” and “The Master Distiller’s Master Distiller” by his industry peers, James C. “Jimmy” Russell has been making whiskey at the Wild Turkey® Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, for 65 years. Russell is the longest-tenured, active spirits master distiller in the world. Full bio here.