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Al Young, 77, legendary brand manager for Four Roses, died Christmas Day; arrangements pending


The Kentucky Distillers’ Association has expressed deep sadness on the sudden passing of Al Young of Four Roses, one of the industry’s most endearing ambassadors and leading historians with a wealth of industry knowledge and experience that spanned over half a century. 

Young died on Christmas Day at age 77. He was born in Louisville in 1942 and joined the bourbon industry at the Louisville Seagram Distillery in 1067, and worked his way up over the decades. In 2010, he published Four Roses: The Return of a Whiskey Legend, on this history of the 131-year-old brand. Young worked at Four Roses for more than 50 years, most recently serving as brand manager.

He is survived by his wife Gretchen and three children. Funeral arrangements are pending

KDA President Eric Gregory said Young’s infectious charisma, trademark grin and energetic passion for Kentucky’s signature Bourbon industry made him an iconic figure among Bourbon fans all over the world

Al Young (Four Roses photo)

“Al was an ambassador for Kentucky Bourbon long before the job was even invented,” Gregory said. “The thing I’ll remember most is that Al was always smiling. Always. You just knew he loved his job, his family and his life. We were lucky to share in his spirit. 

“Al was one of our industry’s truest champions, and he will be missed by all.”

Young began his career in the distilling industry in 1967 with Joseph E. Seagram and Sons, Inc. As his career progressed, he gained knowledge and experience at several of the Seagram’s distilleries in Kentucky and Indiana before ultimately settling at Four Roses in 1990.

He was a 2011 inductee into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame, a member of the inaugural class of the Order of the Writ, and one of the KDA’s official historians due to his 50+ years of experience and abundance of institutional industry knowledge. 

Gregory said the KDA and its 40 members offered their deepest condolences to Al’s lovely and longtime wife, Gretchen, their three children, and the entire Four Roses family.
 
“Our distilling family and our beloved Commonwealth has lost a treasured visionary who was a friend to everyone he met,” Gregory said. “We encourage whiskey lovers around the world to raise a glass of Four Roses today and toast the enduring legacy of our dear friend, Al Young.”
 


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