How does the Pappy Van Winkle legacy inform your goals with the brand today?
The values of our great grandfather Pappy are at the forefront of everything we do today. Pappy was a salesman, a man of his word, a true character who was able to be himself and always do the right thing. My grandfather, and dad carried on these same values, not by being told, but by seeing and doing. It’s all they knew. Through building Pappy & Company and being fourth generation Van Winkles, we’ve realized that these values have also come naturally to us. It’s important to formalize them, and pave the way for future generations. We keep it fun. We are family-focused. We do the right thing. We put quality first. We hustle.
What are the aspects that make Pappy Van Winkle so sought-after, elite, aspirational and collectible?
Well, I think it’s a multitude of things. We have a real story. A real brand with a real person on the label, and a real family behind it. Consumers seek that in a brand, but it’s hard to find these days. Also, the simple psychology of “you want what you can’t have.” Because the bourbon supply can’t keep up with the demand, there’s been hyperawareness and focus on a brand that makes an exceptional product. There was no master plan to make this an aspirational or elite brand, so I think we’re a great example of what can happen with hard work, dedication and staying true to yourself and your values. And while we appreciate the following that has made us a collectible and sought-after brand, we always try to stay humble to who we are.
Tell us about your passion for bringing fine cigars and bourbon to the world.
Pappy loved cigars, so it was a natural product extension for us. When it came to making the actual blends and determining what kind of cigars we wanted to sell, we knew it had to uphold the same quality and distinct flavor profile that our family’s bourbon possesses.
It’s our family’s name on the product, we are closely connected to our brands, so it’s in our blood and all we know is what it takes to make such quality products. We feel very thankful that Drew Estate Cigars shares the same standards for excellence, so together we can offer a cigar collection like nothing else you’ll find in the premium cigar market.