February 19, 2015 – Whisky Magazine has named three new inductees to its Hall of Fame, with the inductions coming at next week’s North America Whisky & Spirits Conference in New York. This year’s North American inductees include Maker’s Mark Chairman Emeritus Bill Samuels, Jr., longtime Four Roses historian and Brand Ambassador Al Young, and Diageo Master of Whisky Steve Beal.
The magazine’s editorial staff created the Hall of Fame several years ago as an evolution of its lifetime achievement awards, with three inductions annually for honorees in Scotland, the US, and the rest of the world. Longtime Ben Nevis managing director Colin Ross and recently-retired Gordon & MacPhail Managing Director Michael Urquhart were previously named to the Class of 2015 representing Scotland.
Samuels, of course, grew up around Maker’s Mark, which was created by his parents when he was young. He took over day-to-day management of the brand in 1975 and was responsible for growing it from a small regional brand to one distributed worldwide. He stepped aside as president and chief executive in 2011, turning the Beam Suntory-owned brand over to his son Rob and assuming the title of Chairman Emeritus while continuing to serve as the distillery’s ambassador-at-large.
Al Young is the principal brand ambassador for Four Roses, and has 48 years of experience at the distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. He was inducted into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame in 2011, and wrote the distillery’s definitive history, “Four Roses: The Return of a Whiskey Legend” in 2010.
Steve Beal is Diageo’s Senior Master of Whisky on the US West Coast, and has been a leading figure in training on and off-premise bar and retail staff for many years, along with serving as one of the lead brand ambassadors for Diageo’s whisky portfolio. He was inducted into the Keepers of The Quaich in 2010, and serves as a director for the US Bartenders Guild Master Mixologist program.