Women empowerment and Pappy Van Winkle history is the heart of a new Derby collection

Founded by three sisters, Pappy & Company recently hired its first male employee.
Founded by three sisters, Pappy & Company recently hired its first male employee.(Phylicia Ashley, WAVE 3 News)
Published: Apr. 22, 2021 at 8:19 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Pappy and Company is founded by the great-granddaughters of bourbon distiller Pappy Van Winkle. Now, Chenault James, Louise Breen, and Carrie Greener have launched a Derby line that is a full circle moment to the family’s history.

During the pandemic its storefront turned into a warehouse and Pappy and Company’s online sales have boomed, but the company is about more than just profits.

In this shop women handle the heavy labor and all levels of operation for these sisters in the Pappy Van Winkle family.

“Definitely happened organically,” Breen said. “We’re three women, sisters. And when we started building our team it was completely organic and an evolution.”

This all women team started in the basement of Breen’s home in 2013. The history of Pappy and Company started with Pappy Van Winkle’s distillery opening in 1935 on Derby Day. Now, 86 years later, the company is launching a Derby collection highlighting local artists and vendors.

“It is truly our lives and it’s a lifestyle brand,” Breen said. “And it’s just inspired by who we are and our family traditions and the legacy we have.”

That tradition and legacy is all about family. When it gets down to days off and responsibilities family comes first.

So what’s it like working with mostly women and your sisters?

“Everybody’s so busy I feel like even though I see Louise every day, I feel like I don’t see her,” James said.

Co-founders James and Breen hired six employees in the past six months. They hires include the company’s first male, Todd Switzer.

“I have a daughter of my own,” Switzer said. “It makes me feel like she can go out and do whatever she wants to do. It’s really inspiring for younger women right now.”

Switzer doesn’t feel singled out because this shop is all about quality products, tradition, family and of course bourbon.

To order from the store Debry collection, click here.

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