Preston is the fourth generation member of the Van Winkle family to enter into the bourbon business. He is the great grandson of iconic bourbon maker Julian P. “Pappy” Van Winkle, Sr. and son of current Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery President, Julian P. Van Winkle, III. Preston grew up in the post Stitzel-Weller era of Van Winkle bourbon production, exploring his father’s bottling hall and barrel warehouse in Lawrenceburg, KY., occasionally helping with the bottling and labeling.
Preston graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2001 and immediately started working for his father. Initially he split time between the Louisville office and the Lawrenceburg bottling facility where he often processed bourbon for bottling and ran the bottling line as Julian had for the previous 20 plus years.
In 2002 the Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery partnered with the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, KY, freeing up Julian and Preston from production duties enabling them to focus on the sales and marketing of the brands. Preston assumed the role of Marketing Manager for Old Rip Van Winkle and has worked since then to help manage and market the Van Winkle brands.