CBS Bourbon-Whiskey Daily Blog

By June 20, 2023No Comments

Buffalo Trace Distillery, located in Frankfort, Kentucky, has a rich and storied history that spans more than two centuries. Here’s a brief overview of the distillery’s fascinating journey:

Early Origins: The distillery’s roots can be traced back to 1775 when the land on which Buffalo Trace sits was first granted to a pioneer named Hancock Lee. The site was originally used as a crossing point on the Kentucky River, and a distillery was established there shortly thereafter.

Historic Beginnings: The distillery officially dates its establishment to 1812, when it was founded by Harrison Blanton. Originally known as the Old Fire Copper (O.F.C.) Distillery, it began producing whiskey during a time when Kentucky’s bourbon industry was flourishing.

Prohibition and Survival: Like many other distilleries, Buffalo Trace faced the challenges of Prohibition in the early 20th century. It was forced to cease production of whiskey and instead obtained permits to produce medicinal whiskey and industrial alcohol. This allowed the distillery to survive during the years of Prohibition and resume bourbon production when it ended in 1933.

Multiple Ownerships and Names: Over the years, the distillery changed ownership several times and underwent name changes. It was known as the George T. Stagg Distillery, the Schenley Distillery, and the Ancient Age Distillery before eventually becoming Buffalo Trace Distillery in 1999.

Modern Era and Renowned Bourbon: In recent decades, Buffalo Trace has gained worldwide acclaim for its exceptional bourbon whiskies. The distillery has focused on preserving traditional bourbon-making methods and has become known for its commitment to producing high-quality spirits.

Historic Distillery Campus: Buffalo Trace is proud of its historic distillery campus, which includes iconic buildings such as the Old Taylor House and the Warehouse C, E, and H. These structures are designated as National Historic Landmarks and serve as a testament to the distillery’s long-standing heritage.

Distilling Innovations: Buffalo Trace has also embraced innovation within the bourbon industry. They have introduced experimental whiskey releases, such as the Experimental Collection, exploring unique aging techniques, grain combinations, and barrel treatments.

Visitor Experience and Tourism: Today, Buffalo Trace Distillery is a popular tourist destination, welcoming visitors from around the world. It offers guided tours, tastings, and a comprehensive visitor center, allowing bourbon enthusiasts to delve into the distillery’s history, production processes, and sample its award-winning bourbons.

Buffalo Trace Distillery’s legacy as one of America’s most iconic and respected bourbon producers continues to thrive, as it stays true to its roots while adapting to the evolving landscape of the whiskey industry.

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