The Mission & Values of Pappy & Company

Celebrating the mission, values and heritage of Pappy & Company


While for many people, the holiday season culminates with the aged old tradition of setting goals and resolutions for yourself as the ball drops on New Year's Eve. While, in theory,  this practice holds value as you enter a New Year with renewed focus and determination, we find that maintaining a sense of commitment to our core mission and values throughout the year keeps them always in the forefront of our daily business, and life practices.

We do, however, appreciate the start of a new year as a fresh start and an opportunity to reflect on our mission and our values to remind ourselves why they are so essential to the foundation of our company and to appreciate that we have never wavered from since we founded Pappy & Company ten years ago.



While a few things may have changed over the years, like the fact that we have an actual office and a warehouse instead of using Louise's basement for fulfillment, and our product line has grown considerably, we still maintain the same core values as when we printed our first t-shirt so many years ago. It was important to us to establish the tone and tenor of our business from the very start, so that as we grew we always had the core promises to return to and to remind ourselves of when things got tricky. We wrote them down together as sisters, then developed them with our team, to finally introduce our five core value statements that represent who we are and what we believe in, as a company and as stewards of our family's heritage.  

Our mission and values have always been a natural part of our business, as we have incorporated them into most facets of our lives since, even before we understood that is what we were doing. These were values learned and absorbed from watching our dad run his business, and from stories we heard about our grandfather and great-grandfather before him. A family business after all, is intensely personal and we feel so fortunate to have learned what it means to work hard, to do the right thing and to infuse any moments we can with the unmistakable joy that life brings!



1. We keep it fun. 

 Running a small business is hard work - so our first priority is to make sure it is also fun! A positive, team oriented environment with lots of laughter, friendship and finding the fun and funny in the everyday! While we aren't a big team, we can honestly say that we enjoy each other as people. We bring a lot of diverse backgrounds and perspectives from the table, and along with respect, that brings much needed moments of levity and silliness to our work days. This is especially important during our busy seasons, or when circumstances change or we have to pivot quickly. You are sure to always hear sounds of laughter coming from the warehouse and our offices, whether we are on zoom, in a field at an all day event, or just choosing to spend our break time together, sharing stories and teasing each other.  

There's a reason that one of the most memorable images of Pappy are of him and his beloved dog, Thunder, serving as his caddy on the golf course. If you ask anyone what they would take away from a meeting with our dad, most would probably reference his sense of humor or story telling. Never one to take himself too seriously, just like Pappy and our dad, no Van Winkle has ever confused working hard as working without fun. Collaboration and teamwork have always contributed to a positive atmosphere that invites joy along with work. 



2. We are family focused. 

Obviously, as a family led business based on a family run legacy, this one is woven through every element of our company, but for us it is deeper than that. It means that for the three of us, and every member of our team - our families come first, always. This may mean that on a given day, we are all juggling various parent responsibilities. The dreaded phone call from school that someone needs to be picked up, the afternoon logistics, the performances, the sports, the events...these are part and parcel of our lives and the underlying understanding is "no questions asked - family comes first." This may also mean that, if you happen upon our offices or our warehouse, you may find a family member, child, or even a four legged friend, spending their day right alongside us. Of course, we have no problem putting these visitors to work, and around the holiday's, our fulfillment team may just include a variety of cousins, kiddos, and extended family. 

Our family's legacy goes beyond just the bourbon that shares our name. We have never taken it for granted that being 4th generation members of the family involved in this business, means that we are 4th generations who can carry on more than just our business. How they made decisions, how they considered their employees as part of our family, or just as simply as how they were as people. This is the real legacy that we are incredibly proud to carry on. 





3. We put quality first. 

 We stand behind everything that we make. We have never wavered from the original inspiration and promise that our great-grandfather made that started it all - 

"We make fine bourbon
at a profit if we can
at a loss if we must

but always
fine bourbon."



 Quality and craftsmanship will never be compromised - even it means a longer production time or higher cost to us.  We seek out partners who share a similar dedication to their craft. People that still work with their hands and do things the old fashioned way. We use simple, quality ingredients and continue our efforts at increasing sustainable business practices. 

4. We do the right thing. 

Whether its our focus on customer service, or our emphasis on sourcing materials and partnerships that reflect who we are and what we value, we honor this mission in all aspects of our business.  There's an old saying, "choose the hard right over the easy wrong" that sums up our approach. This has meant canceling orders and issuing refunds, or discontinuing products or partnerships that didn't meet our standards. It can mean uncomfortable. This commitment is what drives us and what led us to develop on our philanthropic Bourbon for Good mission of giving back and supporting our communities. We have expanded our reach over the years, and have dedicated time and resources towards a variety of non-profits that hold significance, either personally or professionally, to our team. 

Quite simply, and to quote Pappy himself "you can't make good bourbon if  you speed things up." This was the genesis of the famous sign bearing the promise "No chemists allowed," that hung on the outside of the distillery, another reminder that there may be some who take shortcuts or employ methods to rush a product to market, but we will never be one of them.


5.  We hustle.
Hard work. It's pretty simple but absolutely essential. Something we agreed wholeheartedly on when we started our business was that our leadership would reflect this value. Teamwork is essential to succeeding in this way, and we have built an incredible team - small, but mighty, who are equally as committed to getting the job done, without sacrificing quality, family or fun! Whether its an all hands on deckpacking day in the warehouse where we all (including those aforementioned family members) roll up our sleeves and pitch in, or everyone putting in extra time to set up and break down a booth after a long event weekend, grit, determination and team work are always on display by every single person on our team. We couldn't do any of this without our team, without the support of our families, and without the fun, laughter and friendship they have all provided over these past t10 years.

Growing up we watched as our dad put his blood, sweat and tears into the business. This was informative to us as young children as to what it meant to be the name behind the business. The long days at the distillery, the hours spent driving the truck, bottling and delivering by hand with a small team. This was what hustle meant to us then, and means to us now. We don't shy away from getting our hands dirty, we don't know any other way and boy are we grateful for the example our dad, our grandfather and our great-grandfather set for us. Furthermore, we are immensely grateful for our kids to see us doing the same thing everyday.




Cheers to a New Year of continuing to grow and continuing to focus on these values and our mission every step of the way!