How Pappy & Company honors family traditions through its own modern authentic lifestyle brand
By Anna Byerley
Photos by Kathryn Harrington
The owners of Pappy & Company created a brand steeped in bourbon family history and tradition thanks to the Pappy Van Winkle bourbon labels that were created in the 1990s by their father and named after their great grandfather, Julian “Pappy” Van Winkle. The owners and triplets, Louise Van Winkle Breen, Carrie Van Winkle Greener and Chenault Van Winkle James, created Pappy & Co. with the intention of incorporating their family history into a merchandisable brand, but in a new, current and innovative way.
“This was a way for us to get involved with the family business in our own way and we were also fulfilling a need for promotional products associated with the famous bourbon brand,” Greener explained. “We are a small family business and there had not been a thought about any kind of merchandise associated with the bourbon. We saw a need to fill that space and that’s how we started. Now, we really call it a lifestyle brand because it represents our family’s history and things that our family’s heritage inspires us to create.”
Pappy & Co. sells everything from apparel, like hats and t-shirts, to men’s accessories, including ties and cufflinks, to premium cigars and barware accessories. They also have a large bourbon barrel aged food category that includes their best-selling maple syrup that’s aged in their retired bourbon barrels, a pepper sauce and barrel aged coffee.
The barrel aged food category is unique from other brands because of the high quality bourbon barrels that are used in its creation. “I think what sets us apart is the quality of the ingredients paired with the quality of the barrels that creates a product that you really can’t find anywhere else,” Greener said. “Our youngest whiskey is 10-years-old and it goes up to 23 years, which creates huge depths in flavor. For all the years that the whiskey ages in the barrel, it saturates the wood, so that aging process of the whiskey definitely enhances the flavor of our products.”
In addition to their family’s famous background in the bourbon industry, James thinks that the authenticity of Pappy & Co. comes from the fact that it’s also inspired by and incorporates elements from the sisters’ personal lives. As they approach their eighth year of being in business, Breen shared, “Pappy & Co. is organically working towards really standing on its own. As much as we want to honor and expand on our bourbon heritage, it’s also important to us to create a brand that is really inspired by us and who we are in our traditions. For example, we sell barware and cups to drink out of, but they’re not intended to always be used for consuming bourbon. We also drink margaritas and wine, so we’re attempting to create this special, unique brand together as sisters that represents who we are.”
The sisters are excited about their new upcoming projects and have many things in the works to expand on their barrel aged food line and bar accessory collections.
“I think it’s fun for people to see because they immediately think ‘Oh the girls, you know, their family is in the bourbon business,’ but it’s so much more than that. So I think it’s taking something really special and doing something new with it,” Greener explained. “I think that’s what can be inspiring for people, that you can still take something old and give it a new life.”
Pappy & Company
843 E Market Street
Louisville, KY 40206