Freddie Johnson is the tour guide of all tour guides in Kentucky and quite possibly in the world. For 17 years, he’s been leading tourists all around the hallowed grounds of Frankfort’s Buffalo Trace Distillery, where he often played as a child while his father and grandfather worked behind the scenes.
Johnson is so renowned in Kentucky’s bourbon industry, last year he was inducted into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame for his many years of service, introducing guests from near and far to the magical mysteries behind the spirit.
On Friday, Buffalo Trace announced that it was honoring Johnson by changing the name of its current root beer product, Dr. McGillicuddy’s Root Beer, to Freddie’s Old Fashioned Root Beer. The bottle features a caricature of Johnson and includes his many catchphrases like “Isn’t that neat?” and “What’s up daddy-o?”
And to top it all off, the orange cap features Johnson’s signature thumbs-up.
During Johnson’s touching acceptance speech last year at the Bourbon Hall of Fame, he humbly said: “You have to understand how important this is, and it’s not about me. I’m just a person at Buffalo Trace. But I can’t thank each of you enough for what you’ve done for my family.”
We can assume Johnson is thrilled with his root beer, as a photo included with the news release shows him flashing his warm and charming smile along with a thumbs-up, of course.
The Dr. McGillicuddy brand had no historical connection to Buffalo Trace, so now with Freddie’s Old Fashioned Root Beer, it’s a nod to both Johnson’s success and his family history at the distillery.
The first cases of the newly branded root beer arrived at the Buffalo Trace Gift Shop this week, and the soda will maintain its price of $1.25 per bottle. (Hint: It goes really well with the Buffalo Trace Bourbon Cream.)