Four Gate Whiskey Company Honors the late Kevin McLaughlin of Kelvin Cooperage with a Special Release Benefitting West End School of Louisville

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  • November 16, 2020
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Four Gate Whiskey Company Honors the late Kevin McLaughlin of Kelvin Cooperage with a Special Release Benefitting West End School of Louisville

“Eagle Thief”

10+2 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon

LOUISVILLE, KY, November 16th, 2020-

Four Gate Whiskey Company is paying tribute to the late Kevin McLaughlin of Kelvin Cooperage, who passed away in December of 2019 with a special tribute release funding a  donation to Kevin’s charity of choice- West End School of Louisville.

Kevin McLaughlin ran Kelvin Cooperage with his brother, Paul, after their father founded the cooperage in Glasgow, Scotland in 1963. Kevin passed away December 27th, 2019, after a courageous battle with cancer.

Kelvin Cooperage has collaborated with Four Gate Whiskey Company from the start, and Kevin was a good friend of Chief Barrel Officer Bob D’Antoni. The company only thought it fitting to honor Kevin with a special release.

“Kevin was such a great guy and great friend. He was so instrumental in our success that I felt like this was something we had to do,” Said D’Antoni.

Kevin was an avid and skilled golfer, who played collegiate golf at Pepperdine University, where he captained the golf team. As such, much of the labeling of the batch are tributes to Kevin’s golf game and the cooperage he ran so successfully.

Highlights of the label include:

  • The label Colors match the collegiate colors of Pepperdine University
  • The year of his birth (1963) and passing (2019) are included
  • Kevin was an impressive +2 handicap, so the 12-year age statement is listed as 10 “+2”
  • The release is named ”Eagle Thief,” incorporating the golf score of “eagle” and the “whiskey thief” tool used to extract whiskey from a barrel
  • “KM” and “RIP” are printed as watermarks on the back label
  • The proof was 122.7, which is also the day of his passing (December 27th)

“The label was such a labor of love from Bobby (D’Antoni),” said Chief Blending Officer Bill Straub. “It’s really thoughtful and creative at the same time.”

The underlying whiskey is a barrel proof 12-year Kentucky Straight Bourbon with a mash bill of 74% corn, 18% rye, and 8% malted barley. Only 4 barrels were selected, resulting in 423 total bottles. Sales from this batch will fund a donation to Kevin’s charity of Choice, West End School of Louisville. West End School provides a safe and structured environment for boys in grades Pre-Kindergarten through 8th in which academic rigor, character development, and responsible action establish the foundation for a purposeful life. Their vision seeks to enable students, regardless of their circumstances, to achieve their highest potential. More info can be found at

Special thanks and recognition must be made to all involved. To maximize the contribution to the school, Republic National Distributing Company, Sterling Cut Glass, Resource Label, and White Dog Trading and Storage all agreed to participate at lower margins to make this batch a reality, including all participating on-premise retailers and online sellers- and

“Everyone at Kelvin Cooperage is overwhelmed by Four Gate’s Eagle Thief Release in honor of my brother, Kevin McLaughlin,” Said Paul McLaughlin. “He would also have enjoyed having his +2 handicap widely publicized!  The fact that everyone involved in the project is donating profits to Kevin’s favorite cause – The West End School – is a lovely bonus.”

Straub and D’Antoni run the company as the Chief Blending Officer and Chief Barrel Officer, respectively. With their roots in Louisville, Straub has leveraged his knowledge of bourbon and the industry as founder and Editor-In-Chief of since 2014. As a successful local entrepreneur, D’Antoni has used his connections to establish relationships to get his hands on some terrific bourbon.

A local collaboration like this feeds into the Four Gate Whiskey Company philosophy: if you start with the best whiskey, and leverage some of the best-regarded experts in the field on the effects of barrels, you wind up with an amazing whiskey that both connoisseurs and collectors alike will appreciate.

There are 423 bottles of this release available in November in Kentucky and online through and at a MSRP of $299.

Four Gate Whiskey Company’s products have been released since 2019 to critical acclaim, with batches 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 7 receiving Whisky Advocate scores of 90 points or higher, and various well-regarded writers and online reviewers naming batches 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 10 amongst the top 10 whiskeys of 2019 and 2020. 

Four Gate Whiskey Company started in 2018 with the goal of releasing several unique batches of whiskey products each year. With its first product launch of 11-year-old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey finished in sherry-rum casks in April 2019, the team is excited to unveil the other small batch products with unique finishes in years to come. Learn more at, like us on and follow us on Twitter @four_gate.

 Kelvin Cooperage, founded in Glasgow, Scotland in 1963 and now based in Louisville, KY, is a full-service family-owned cooperage supplying new and used barrels to wine, spirits, and beer producers around the world. For more information, visit

 Additional media images and information are available at





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