We were shocked and saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Master Distiller Dave Pickerell on November 1. A West Point graduate, Dave was one of the most knowledgeable individuals in the spirits industry and an ardent voice for American Whiskey.
Dave was the master distiller at Maker’s Mark for 14 years before leaving in 2008 to become a sought-after consultant. Following his tenure at Marker’s Mark, Dave helped launch Whistle Pig in Vermont and consulted for other brands including Hillrock in upstate New York and George Washington’s Mount Vernon Distillery in Virginia. Dave was touring to promote Blackened, a whiskey he made in collaboration with the band Metallica. The band posted this message on the Blackened website:
Thank you for sharing your optimism, your passion, and your joy with us. You’ve left a mark on the world, and it’s a better place for it. It’s been an honor to have shared the journey with you. Rest in peace Dave.
Dave was a beloved and familiar figure throughout the beverage alcohol industry, always wearing his signature Stetson hat and always ready to share a story, a drink or a few laughs. “Larger than life” was how many have described Dave. He lived well and radiated passion and pride for his work and for the industry. We just wish it had been a longer life. We raise a glass to you, Dave!
Read David Ransom’s profile on Dave Pickerell at Inside F&B here.
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Listen to our show with Dave here: