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Congressman Andy Barr

Representing All the People of Kentucky's Sixth District

Honoring the career of Mr. James C. Russell, Master Distiller at the Wild Turkey Distillery

Sep 17, 2014
Video

On September 17, 2014, Congressman Andy Barr spoke on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives to honor the career of Mr. James C. Russell, Master Distiller at the Wild Turkey Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, and to mark the event of his 60th year in the industry.

 

FULL TRANSCRIPT:

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the career of Mr. James C. Russell, Master Distiller at the Wild Turkey Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, and to mark the event of his 60th year in the industry.

Mr. Russell, or “Jimmy” as he is warmly known to family, friends, and acquaintances alike, is the living example of the maxim that you ought to “do what you love.”  Born into a family of distillers just three miles from the Wild Turkey Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Jimmy has been instrumental in the craftsmanship of nearly every barrel since he began working at the facility on September 10, 1954, when he was just 19 years old.

Since becoming Master Distiller in the late 1960s, Jimmy has been prolific – distilling more than three million barrels with his keen eye for detail and palate for flavor.  When he is not in Lawrenceburg overseeing production, Jimmy is traveling the world as one of perhaps the most famous ambassadors for Kentucky’s signature Bourbon industry.

Mr. Russell has seen the ebbs and flows of the industry over the years, and has been a key player in fostering the recent, explosive growth of Bourbon.  Treated like a rock star wherever he goes – as adoring fans clamor for his autograph on a bottle of American Honey or his Russell’s Reserve – the indefatigable spirit of this Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Famer, the so-called “Buddha of Bourbon,” will help guide the Bourbon industry long into the future.  Jimmy’s son Eddie, himself a Hall of Famer, will ensure that the family’s time-honored tradition of producing complex, finely honed Bourbons continues into a fourth generation.

So, Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to join Jimmy’s friends, family, fans, and fellow Master Distillers in raising a toast to celebrate Mr. Russell’s contributions to a distinctively American and Kentucky industry on this momentous anniversary.  I know I speak for millions more across the country and around the world when I say that I look forward to enjoying the fruits of Jimmy’s labor for many more years to come.