David Steven Pickerell

August 14, 1956November 1, 2018

David Steven Pickerell of Mt. Washington, Kentucky passed away on November 1, 2018 in San Francisco, California at the age of 62.  Dave died of natural causes.  His sudden and untimely death came as a shock to those who loved him.  Dave was born in Fairborn, Ohio on August 14, 1956 to Dick and Georgia Lynn Herbert Wallis Pickerell.  The second of four children (Terri, Tami, and Rick), Dave was a standout football player and scholar in high school.  He earned Prep All-American honors in football before being accepted to play football for the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, where he completed his undergraduate degree in Chemistry.  Dave would like the record to show that he was also accepted to Harvard University, which he ultimately turned down, but kept his acceptance letter.  After completing his undergraduate degree, Dave pursued his military career at various places across America.  While stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky, Dave met the love of his life, Jeannette Harvie.  Dave and Jeannette were married December 17, 1983 in Fort Knox.  They had two daugthers, Anna and Rebekah, while living there.  Dave proceeded to earn his Master's Degree in chemical engineering from the University of Louisville before returning to West Point to teach Chemistry.  After having their third, and favorite child (at least I like to think I was) and oldest son, Micah, in West Point, Dave left the military to pursue a career in chemical engineering.  This brought the family back to Louisville, Kentucky where they had their fourth and final child, Joshua.  Upon moving back to Kentucky, Dave began his career in the alcoholic beverage industry, for which he was best known.  While consulting for Maker's Mark on behalf of an engineering consulting firm, he was hired on full time to be the master distiller.  During his time as master distiller at Maker's Mark, Dave made an indelible mark on the whiskey industry and established himself as one of the leading experts in the industry.  After 14 years with Maker's Mark, Dave decided it was time to pursue some of his more eccentric ideas on his own with like-minded business partners.  Dave founded his consulting company, Oak View Spirits, with the aim of innovating the alcoholic beverage industry.  During his 10 years of work with Oak View Spirits, he had many noteworthy and successful projects including Whistlepig and Hillrock Estate.  Dave will be remembered for his passion for his craft and his love for teaching and helping others.  He was loved by everyone who had the great fortune of meeting him.  Dave's personality was larger than life and he always managed to find himself as the center of attention.  He is survived by his wife, Jeannette Pickerell, his children, Anna Birney (Geoff), Rebekah Smith (Mark), Micah and Joshua Pickerell;  his grandsons, Kayden Smith, Drew Birney, Gideon Smith, and Salem James Smith;  along with his siblings, Terri, Tami, and Rick Pickerell.  He was preceded in death by his parents, Dick and Georgia Lynn Herbert Wallis Pickerell.  A public celebration of Dave's life will be held 7 p.m. Monday, November 19, 2018 at the Louisville Marriott Downtown.  In lieu of sending flowers, well-wishers are encouraged to enjoy a glass of their favorite whiskey and remember Dave.  Arrangements have been entrusted to McFarland-Troutman-Proffitt Funeral Home, Mt. Washington.


For Teri: Representing your Class of 1971 classmates, we sincerely offer you condolences at this very sad time. It's hard whether the death is sudden, or if an illness lingers. Either way, it's hard to lose those we love. We also send heart-felt sympathies to the rest of the family. Fondly, Denise (Kline) Derge www.fairborn71.com
Distilled Spirits Council Mourns Loss of Industry Legend and Pioneer Dave Pickerell November 02, 2018 2:25 pm Spirits icon and pioneering distiller Dave Pickerell died recently in San Francisco. Pickerell spent 14 years as Master Distiller for Maker’s Mark before venturing out to help start many of the craft distilling operations now seen across the country. He was also critical in restoring George Washington’s Distillery at Mount Vernon. “Dave Pickerell was a true icon in the distilling world, and an innovator and mentor to so many. “With Bill Samuels at Maker’s Mark, Dave helped launch the premiumization of Bourbon, a trend that has swept around the globe. “He was a leader of the original team of distillers involved in the restoration of George Washington’s Distillery and the recreation of the first Rye Whiskey at the site in 200 years. That effort in the early 2000s sparked the revival and subsequent boom in Rye whiskey that followed. “And, through his teaching, consulting and friendship, he was a founding father of the craft distilling movement that is exploding in the United States.” Quote attributable to Frank Coleman, Senior Vice President, Distilled Spirits Council Dave Pickerell’s The Rise And Fall And Rise of Rye can be read at DistilledSpirits.com/trends/rye
Over the last 17 years, Dave was more than a partner in crime in business. He was my best friend, one on my speed dial, and someone who could finish my sentences. More than all the spirits he produced, the most he was proud of was his kids. When he became a grandfather, he took every chance he had to share with everyone pictures of his first grandson. Dave was truly the happiest man when he spoke about each one of his four children and ever growing family. He always said he wanted to give them a better life than he ever had as a kid. No matter how successful he became, he was still the same humble southern gentleman and a soldier you wanted in your Army. With all the travels, his suitcases were always packed full. But if someone needed him to carry something extra, he would find a way to make a room to carry it. If someone had a thing or two to say, he was all ears; it didn’t matter who it was. He was always curious about life in general and it “tickled him to death” to be surrounded by people who shared their passion with him. I nor Fruitland Augusta brand would never be where it is today if it wasn’t for Dave. Dave’s life is a great example of “a dream can come true” with self-determination and diligent hard work. His life also verified that the beauty of life could be found within. Dave believed you can find happiness in a simplest, smallest thing; it did not require fame nor money. Dave was happy being a productive member of the society and most importantly being a father to his four children who made him proud everyday. I may have lost my best friend but I consider myself one of the luckiest people to have spent years with him, a true American Dream. Yuri Kato
Jeanette I was broken hearted to see the notice of Dave's death in the Outlook. Please know that Ted and I are praying for you and your family as you learn to live on earth without Dave. There are no words to say! He was a remarkable man!