Freddie Johnson

Freddie large.JPG

Storyteller Extraodinaire

Freddie Johnson’s family has worked at the Buffalo Trace Distillery for three generations and works as its Chief Tour Guide and V.I.P. Visitor Supervisor. Born in Paris, Kentucky, he spent some of his early childhood with his maternal grandfather who was a coal miner and moonshiner. Freddie cherishes memories of both his father and grandfather working at the plant for five decades.

Freddie and the Johnson family moved to Frankfort, Kentucky when he was five years-old. His father Jimmy Johnson Jr., and his grandfather Jimmy Johnson Sr., worked most of their careers at Buffalo Trace Distillery or what was then known as the George T. Stagg Distillery. Johnson, Sr. worked with and for Colonel Albert Bacon Blanton while his father, Junior worked with and under the supervision of both Orville Schupp and Elmer T. Lee. Freddie enjoyed spending time with Johnson, Sr. outside hunting, fishing, hunting and camping.

Freddie worked for A.T. & T. as a network/operations engineer and was even given a top secret clearance because of a government contract he was working on. He became very successful in the network business that took him to both Atlanta and New York City.

But Freddie set all that aside to when he found out that his father and older brother were sick. He did this to fulfill a promise made to his father, Jimmy, Jr. more than 20 years prior. He gave his word to his father that he would someday come back and work by his side at the distillery during his lifetime. That way they would have had three generations of the Johnson family that worked at Frankfort Distillery.

Freddie took an early retirement from A.T. & T. and moved back to take care of his ailing father and brother. Jimmy, Jr. got him a job as a tour guide at the distillery in 2002. But remember Freddie had been at the distillery his entire childhood way back to when he was five years old. Freddie spins tales of his childhood memories with his father, grandfather, brother and rest of his family in Frankfort. He specifically recalls his fond time with his dad at the distillery and rich history that it possesses as he entertains thousands of visitors each year in many different various tours at the Trace.

In September 2018, Freddie Johnson received the industry’s highest award when he was elected into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame. Freddie becomes only the 8th member of the Buffalo Trace family to join the Hall behind such illustrious names as George T. Stagg, Colonel Albert Blanton, Elmer T. Lee, Orville Schupp and Julian “Pappy” Van Winkle. One of the distillery’s most popular and highly sought after tour guides, Freddie also received the 2015 ROSE (Recognition of Service Excellence) Award and the 2017 Lexington Hospitality Award.

Freddie Johnson shares three of the brands carrying the "Flagship” label of Buffalo Trace at the end of every tour; pictured above from left to right: 1.)   Buffalo Trace Bourbon,   2.)   Buffalo Trace White Dog   (4 Mash Bill variations), 3.)   Buffalo Trace Bourbon Creme   and 4.)   Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection.

Freddie Johnson shares three of the brands carrying the "Flagship” label of Buffalo Trace at the end of every tour; pictured above from left to right: 1.) Buffalo Trace Bourbon, 2.) Buffalo Trace White Dog (4 Mash Bill variations), 3.) Buffalo Trace Bourbon Creme and 4.) Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection.

Freddie Johnson espouses the values and great taste of Eagle Rare Brands at the tasting at the end of many of his Tours at Buffalo Trace. Eagle Rare has three current varieties and a former expression (from left to right): 1.)   Eagle Rare 10 year-old   (Old packaging) 101 Proof, 2.)   Eagle Rare Small Batch 10 year-old   (Buffalo Trace’s Top Selling Super Premium Brand), 3.)   Eagle Rare Single Barrel   and     4.)   Eagle Rare Antique Collection 17 year-old   (Part of the Buffalo Trace Antique Coolection).

Freddie Johnson espouses the values and great taste of Eagle Rare Brands at the tasting at the end of many of his Tours at Buffalo Trace. Eagle Rare has three current varieties and a former expression (from left to right): 1.) Eagle Rare 10 year-old (Old packaging) 101 Proof, 2.) Eagle Rare Small Batch 10 year-old (Buffalo Trace’s Top Selling Super Premium Brand), 3.) Eagle Rare Single Barrel and 4.) Eagle Rare Antique Collection 17 year-old (Part of the Buffalo Trace Antique Coolection).

Freddie Johnson  share stories of his experiences with his father and the famed Pappy Van Winkle brands on his tours at Buffalo Trace. The line of Pappy Van Winkle includes six brands, five Wheated Bourbons and one Rye (left to right): 1.)   Van Winkle 12 year-old Lot “B,”   2.)   Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye   (13 year-old), 3.)   Pappy Van Winkle 20 year-old  , 4.)   Pappy Van Winkle 23 year-old,   5.)   Pappy Van Winkle 15 year-old   and     6.)   Old Rip Van Winkle 10 year-old

Freddie Johnson share stories of his experiences with his father and the famed Pappy Van Winkle brands on his tours at Buffalo Trace. The line of Pappy Van Winkle includes six brands, five Wheated Bourbons and one Rye (left to right): 1.) Van Winkle 12 year-old Lot “B,” 2.) Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye (13 year-old), 3.) Pappy Van Winkle 20 year-old, 4.) Pappy Van Winkle 23 year-old, 5.) Pappy Van Winkle 15 year-old and 6.) Old Rip Van Winkle 10 year-old