Kentucky’s ‘first’ Black-owned distillery opens

Bourbon producer Brough Brothers has opened what is thought to be the first Black-owned distillery in the state of Kentucky.

Founded by brothers Victor, Bryson, and Christian Yarbrough, the Louisville distillery was approved in August 2018 and recognised as Kentucky’s first African American-owned distillery in 2020.

The distillery aims to produce Bourbon ‘in an industry that has thus far remained largely inaccessible to minority entrepreneurs’. The site will also support other local businesses and strives to revitalise the West End neighbourhood in which it is based.

Brough Brothers will distil and fill its first barrels of Bourbon during the winter months, and plans to open its Bourbon shop to visitors in spring.

Brough Brothers CEO, Victor Yarbrough, said: “Brough Brothers has an opportunity to not only provide employment opportunities for our local community, but also design an experience for locals and tourists in the heart of one of Kentucky’s cultural hubs.

“At a time in history when there is much attention on Louisville, we are excited to represent positive change and hope for and on behalf of our city.”

The brand’s whiskey is currently available through retailers such as Kroger, Total Wine and More, Trader Joes and Walmart across five US states, including Kentucky, Florida, Tennessee, Indiana and Colorado.

Brough Brothers will expand its distribution to a further 20 states in early 2021.

The US$5.4 million Fresh Bourbon Distilling Co distillery in Lexington was due to become the first Black-owned distillery in Kentucky when it opened, however the coronavirus pandemic halted the firm’s plans.

To see our roundup of 10 distilleries established by Black pioneers, click here.

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Author: Owen Bellwood

Timothy Kelly

Tim is the Founder & Master Distiller at Felene. He developed his passion for the spirits and hospitality business while growing-up and working in his family's restaurant and liquor store business. Tim’s passion for the epicurean lifestyle has found it’s latest manifestation in the Felene Distillery. Tim is a 5-time Gold Medal Award winning Distiller. He has won a Platinum medal at the Prestigious Los Angeles Spirits Awards and his signature vodka was named Best-in-Category by the American Distilling Institute. Mr. Kelly is also a prolific author and writer and his blog is filled with ideas, discoveries, observations and recommendations to help his readers enjoy life’s simple epicurean pleasures.

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