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Monday, January 4, 2021

First and Only African American-Owned Distillery in Kentucky Opens Its Doors - Brough Brothers Distillery

Brough Brothers Distillery, the first and only Black-owned distillery in the state of Kentucky, has opened in Louisville. The new 2200 square feet distillery was founded by brothers Victor, Bryson, and Christian Yarbrough with the goal to 'produce quality bourbon whiskey in an industry that has thus far remained largely inaccessible to minority entrepreneurs.'

Brough Brothers CEO Victor Yarbrough says: 
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 timeline for the distillery is it was approved by the Federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau in August 2018, approved by the Kentucky Alcoholic Beverage Control Board in September 2020, and will distill and barrel their first bourbon in the winter of 2020/2021. Additionally, the bourbon shop will be open for business by appointment in the Spring of 2021.

While they wait for the bourbon from the new distillery to be barreled and age, there is a Brough Brothers bourbon on shelves in Kentucky, Florida, Tennessee, Indiana, and Colorado that comes in at 82 proof (41% alcohol) and has a mash bill of 75% Corn, 21% Rye, and 4% Malted Barley. No age statement was provided. They plan on expanding the distribution of the existing product to 20 additional states in 2021. No mention if Ohio was one of the states being considered. 

My Take

First of all, congrats to the Brough brothers for opening their distillery. This is a huge accomplishment and is super cool to have a minority owned distillery. If you look at any of the existing brands, it's almost always white men who are the master distillers and it's usually giant corporations who own them. Jim Beam is a great example. They are owned by a multi-national conglomerate ($3.1 billion dollars in sales) and the public face of Jim Beam and many of their other bourbons are the 7th generation distiller Fred Noe. We can also look at Woodford... they are owned by multi-national conglomerate Brown-Forman (over $1 billion in sales) and have master distiller Chris Morris. 

Having an African-American owned distillery is exciting because it's going to open opportunities for people with new and exciting ideas who traditionally aren't represented in the bourbon industry. 

While I've never had Brough Brothers Bourbon, I'm guessing the current batch is sourced from another distillery, then bottled and branded as Brough Brothers so if it's good or bad, I wouldn't put too much stock into it until they can distill, barrel, and bottle from the new distillery. 

Congrats to the Yarbrough brothers on the new distillery.

What do you think? Drop a note in the comments below. 

Source: Brough Brothers

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