Magliocco's Role in Resurgence of American Whiskey

The Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame has announced that it will induct Michter’s President Joseph J. Magliocco on Sept. 13.

A native New Yorker who later adopted Louisville as his second home, Magliocco initially fell in love with Kentucky bourbon while bartending during college at Yale, where he was a Religious Studies major. After earning a JD from Harvard Law School, during which time he spent summers selling Kentucky bourbon and other spirits, Magliocco embarked on a full-time career in the spirits and wine business. One of his first industry jobs was at a distributor, where he reported to the company’s president, R.C Wells, the former president of Four Roses.

Magliocco subsequently led the effort to develop Chatham Imports, the Manhattan-based spirits and wine supplier and eventual parent company of Michter’s Distillery. During the 1990s, a challenging period for the American whiskey industry, Magliocco teamed up with his mentor and adviser Richard Newman, the former president of Austin-Nichols, to enter the bourbon business, which they both viewed as being only temporarily out of favor.

While selling the brand during a summer job, Magliocco had grown familiar with Michter’s, a Pennsylvania-based whiskey company with a legacy stretching from the founding of a predecessor in 1753 until its bankruptcy in 1989. After the Michter’s brand name went abandoned, Magliocco spearheaded Chatham’s acquisition of the Michter’s trademark in the 1990s for $245 and set out to restart the historic brand with whiskey made in Kentucky, which he considered the best place in the world for bourbon.

Magliocco has played a role in the resurgence of American whiskey. “There is no one who believes more in the potential of the Kentucky bourbon category,” stated Michter’s Master Distiller Dan McKee. “I know I speak for our entire team when I say we are grateful for Joe’s unwavering support, which has enabled us to make decisions that prioritize making the highest quality whiskey every step of the way.” Michter’s Master of Maturation Andrea Wilson added, “Joe’s contributions will have a lasting impact on the Kentucky Bourbon industry and on how American whiskey is perceived around the world.”

Over the years, the Louisville-based Michter’s team assembled by Magliocco has made progress with the brand, which is now sold in all 50 United States and over 60 export markets. In its present form, Michter’s has two Louisville distilleries – Michter’s Shively Distillery and Michter’s Fort Nelson Distillery – as well as a 205-acre farm and operations hub in Springfield, Kentucky. Magliocco joins Andrea Wilson, Michter’s Master of Maturation and Chief Operating Officer, as Michter’s second Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame member.

“Kentucky bourbon has thrived and reached its current level of success because of all the great people working in all the positions in our industry. I am humbled and deeply honored to be included among this year’s extraordinary inductees into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame,” remarked Magliocco.
Magliocco actively volunteers with schools and not-for-profit organizations. An Associate Fellow at Yale University’s Benjamin Franklin College, Magliocco serves as a trustee of The Frazier History Museum and The Fresh Air Fund, as well as a member of the Harvard Law School Dean’s Advisory Board. Magliocco splits his time between Louisville and New York. He works at Michter’s with a team that includes his son Matt Magliocco and his niece Katharine Magliocco.