Bulleit Distilling Founder Becomes Louisville’s 22nd Hometown Heroes Honoree

Hometown Heroes SelectLouisville, Ky. (April 29, 2014) – Since the Greater Louisville Pride Foundation kicked off their Hometown Heroes campaign with a giant mural of boxing great Muhammad Ali in 2002, 21 other prominent personas have been recognized for their achievements. Today, these Louisville legends added a Kentucky colonel and member of the Bourbon Hall of Fame to their ranks in whiskey icon Tom Bulleit.

In 1987, Tom quit his job as a successful Louisville lawyer to start the Bulleit Distilling Company– forever forging his family name into the annals of bourbon history. Today, Bulleit Bourbon, Bulleit Rye and Bulleit 10-Year are some of the fastest growing small batch whiskies in America and have been launched in countries around the world.  Fiercely passionate Kentuckians, Tom and his wife Betsy are proud to call the Bluegrass State home. Sharing his passion for bourbon, he travels the country introducing his family’s Kentucky recipe to thousands of people each year.

In addition to an unwavering dedication to reviving a 150-year-old family bourbon recipe, Tom has been a mainstay in the Louisville community throughout his life.  After graduating from Trinity High School and earning his B.A. from the University of Kentucky in 1966, Tom served his country during the Vietnam War as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps from 1967-1969. Upon returning home, he earned a law degree from the University of Louisville School of Law, all while working in Kentucky distilleries between terms.

Stemming from his commitment to share his family’s legacy, Tom was appointed by Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher as a member of the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels in 2006, the highest accolade a Kentucky citizen can receive. In 2009, Tom was inducted into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame – the most prestigious honor available for those in the industry.

“Having been raised in a Louisville family that values its history and native roots, I am overwhelmed and deeply honored to be placed among such an elite group of individuals who have brought such pride to our city,” Tom Bulleit said. “Bourbon’s history is deeply rooted in Louisville, and to have the chance to play a role in American Whiskey’s international renaissance and rising popularity is something I cherish. To be honored in this way, in a place that has done so much for me and for my family, is truly one of the most humbling moments of my life.”

Created by the Greater Louisville Pride Foundation and overseen by founder Mike Sheehy, the Louisville Hometown Hero initiative recognizes current or former Louisville residents who have been recognized for excellence in their respective fields. The 12-year-old campaign was launched in 2002 to enhance community pride and to serve as inspiration for Louisville residents. Past recipients include former professional boxer Ali, jockey Pay Day and ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer.

Like the previous 21 honorees, Tom Bulleit will be featured on a giant mural and displayed prominently in downtown Louisville.  Tom Bulleit’s mural will be displayed at 138 South 3rd Street, between West Market and West Main Street – owned by local lawyer and investor, John DeCamillis.  The mural photograph was designed by Louisville artist Donovan Deferraro.

“Tom Bulleit is a fantastic addition to our group of Hometown Heroes,” said Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear.  “His excitement and dedication for sharing this great Kentucky product with adults around the world has generated a lot of interest and economic impact for our state and the city of Louisville.  He’s an inspiration to many and a great example of what success can look like for those who pursue their dreams with true passion.”

To learn more about Louisville’s Hometown Heroes program please log onto www.LouHeroes.org.  Additional information on Tom Bulleit and Bulleit Bourbon can be found at www.Bulleit.com and www.facebook.com/Bulleit.


Founded by Tom Bulleit, the Bulleit Distilling Co. was started more than 20 years ago with Bulleit Bourbon, and in March 2011, Bulleit Rye, a straight rye whiskey, was added to the portfolio with critical acclaim.  The brand’s newest variant, Bulleit 10-Year was introduced in 2013.  Bulleit ranks as one of the fastest-growing small batch whiskeys in America, which Tom largely credits to word of mouth recommendations.  Using only the finest ingredients available – the best grains, limestone filtered water, and special strains of yeast – the 150+ year-old family recipe uses a large amount of rye grain, which gives Bulleit a distinctive taste.

ABOUT HOMETOWN HEROES / www.louheroes.org

The Greater Louisville Pride Foundation was incorporated May 22, 2001 as a 501C-3 non-profit organization. The founding officers: Mike Sheehy, President, Tom Halbleib, Secretary, and Mike Gilligan, Treasurer as well as the board are all volunteers. The Foundation’s purpose is to build pride within the local community and enhance Louisville’s image as an exciting city with tourists, business visitors, and those passing through on the interstates or staying in town by recognizing our many famous sons and daughters. This program, called Hometown Heroes, is being manifested through a series of jumbo murals /public art of famous area folks with a simple endorsement message such as “Ali’s Louisville.”

To date there are nine murals in place honoring the following individuals: Muhammed Ali, Pee Wee Reese, Ed Hamilton, and Bob Edwards, Pat Day, Mary T. Meagher, Judge Louis Brandeis, Colonel Sanders, and Diane Sawyer plus one honoring the Kentucky Derby.