Al Young was born on June 20, 1942 to Albert and Arnie Young. A Louisville, Kentucky, native, Al was a member of the first graduating class of Wagner High School in 1960. He then came to WKU. After earning his bachelor’s degree on the Hill in 1964, he attended Southern Illinois University, where he earned a master’s degree.
Al’s first job was as the publicity director for the Actors Theater of Louisville. At his wife Gretchen’s suggestion, he accepted a more stable position in the distilling business with Four Roses Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. It was then that he found his calling and fell in love with the industry. He spent the next 52 years in the bourbon industry learning the business and working in bottling, distilling, warehousing, and quality control. His work took him through Indiana and Kentucky, primarily to Lawrenceburg, Indiana, Louisville, Kentucky, and Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.
He became distillery manager in 1990, and eventually their brand ambassador in 2007. He was their historian and set up a museum at the distillery. He loved promoting Four Roses all across the United States and his enthusiasm was contagious to all who met him. He later authored a book on the subject, “Four Roses: The Return of a Whiskey Legend.” For his prolific career, he was honored several times. He was inducted into the Bourbon Hall of Fame in 2011 and the Whiskey Magazine Hall of Fame in 2015, and received the Congressional Record from Congressman Andy Barr for his long service in the industry.
Al was active outside of his professional life as well. He was a Kentucky Colonel. He was an active hobbyist, especially enjoying constructing model ships and military miniatures. He was a devoted family man, traveling extensively with Gretchen and visiting museums around the world, helping her with her speech team at the Lexington School and going to meets on weekends, and faithfully attending athletic functions for their children.
Al was married to his wife Gretchen for 52 years. Together they had three children, Marc Young, Heather Young Raker, and Christine Young Fisher and four grandchildren, Anna Raker, Laura Raker, Olivia Fisher, and Clayton Fisher. Al passed away in the loving company of his family on December 26, 2019.
To honor his memory, friends and family established the Al Young Memorial Scholarship Fund. The fund assists deserving WKU students in pursuing their academic goals. Through this fund, Al’s legacy lives on