Fred Minnick (born August 1, 1978) is a Wall Street Journal best-selling American author who has written seven books. He is noted for having a great whiskey palate, as he’s a judge on the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, World Whiskies Awards and reviews American whiskeys for Whiskey Advocate. Minnick has served as the Bourbon Authority for the Kentucky Derby Museum since 2013 and was the bourbon headliner for the inaugural Bourbon & Beyond Festival and curated the Fireside Chats for the Forecastle Music Festival.
Minnick’s first article was published in his town’s local newspaper, the Oklahoma County News,when he was just fifteen years old. After college, Minnick served as an Army journalist in Iraq from 2004 to early 2005. Minnick documented many combat operations. He reports on these and other prominent experiences in his book, Camera Boy (Hellgate press, 2009), as well as overcoming Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in 2005.
Minnick began professionally writing about wine and spirits in 2006 as a freelancer and has since written for The Tasting Panel, USA Today, Scientific American, New York Times, Stores Magazine, Parade Magazine, Caviar Affair, Whisky Advocate, Whisky Magazine, Sommelier Journal, Costco Connection, Bourbon Review, and Covey Rise. Minnick announced in early July 2018 in a blog post that he would no longer be writing for Whiskey Advocate. Later that month, he launched his own magazine, Bourbon +, as its editor-in-chief, along with founder and publisher John Thames. Bourbon + is a quarterly magazine that features high quality, in-depth coverage of all aspects of the bourbon industry.
Minnick has worked with Danny Wimmer Presents as the bourbon headliner for their Louisville, Ky based Bourbon & Beyond music festival since its debut in 2017. As the festival’s Bourbon Headliner, Minnick curates over 30 workshops including tastings, discussions and historic panels.
On July 11, 2017, Minnick published “Will Trump Kill the Bourbon Boom?” in the New York Times. Minnick discusses Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on steel imports and how that will affect the bourbon industry. He also appeared on CBS This Morning and NPR. Minnick’s commentary led to Conservatives publicly questioning the president’s trade policies. After the 25% Chinese tariff on whiskey went into effect in June 2018, Minnick further discussed the damage the state of Kentucky and the bourbon industry will suffer in the CNBC report “Whiskey wars: Trade tariffs hit hard in Trump country.”
Minnick is a frequent seminar presenter and emcee for drinks industry conferences, including San Antonio Cocktail Conference, Tales of the Cocktail (New Orleans), Thirst Boston, Whisky Live, Arizona Cocktail Week and Bourbon Classic. In addition, he regularly speaks at organizational conferences, such as Women Influencing Louisville, Culinary Historians of New York, Kentucky Bar Association, University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture, Decatur Book Festival, Western Kentucky University and many others. Since 2013, Minnick has worked with the Kentucky Derby Museum to present the popular Legends Series of Bourbon.