EP-292 Wright Thompson, Pappyland: A Story of Family, Fine Bourbon, and the Things That Last


Manage episode 284305785 series 2300559
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Depending on who you are and your connection to alcohol and storytelling, this interview can be different things to different people. It’s about a book, which is about bourbon (sort of), but also family and marketing and trying to find things that feel real. If you’re a beer enthusiast, you may connect with stories of people geeking out on bourbon and the niche communities that exist. If you work in beverage alcohol, there may be ideas of storytelling and branding that sound familiar. Or maybe you’d rather just listen as a complicated human like we all are, and follow along these threads and more, which trace the story of how Wright Thompson came to write a book about Pappy Van Winkle, the most desired bourbon on the planet.

Thompson is a familiar name if you’re a sports fan—he’s won awards for his coverage and written beloved profiles of Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan—but a common theme of many of the things he reports on is one of family and the depths of what that means in relation to history and culture.

We’re chatting because his new book, “Pappyland: A Story of Family, Fine Bourbon, and the Things That Last,” has brought all these things together to tell the story of Julian Van Winkle III and bourbon in America. You’ll hear us reference Julian often, and the important thing to know is that as a Van Winkle working in spirits, he’s on what Wright calls a quest to recapture the memories from his own past, of his family, and the bourbon they made. In the book and in this interview, these things get intertwined with ideas behind today’s bourbon, its marketing, and what it says about the human condition.

So, whoever you are, and however you find yourself connecting to bourbon, rare items like Pappy Van Winkle, Wright Thompson, or the deeper role booze can play in our lives, I hope there’s something that keeps you thinking about the memory quest we’re all on, just like Julian.

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