There is a famous line that says, “Go West, young man and grow up with the country.” In the case of Caleb Kilburn and his business partner Cordell Lawrence they are doing just the opposite. Eastern Light Distilling’s Co-Founders Master Distiller Caleb Kilburn and CEO Cordell Lawrence are leaving Louisville and heading East to foothills of Morehead, Kentucky.
Eastern Light Distilling Startup to Build a New $144 Million Distillery
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The pair of young entrepreneurs have been a part of Kentucky Peerless Distilling in Louisville, Kentucky for nearly 10 years. In June 2023 they announced they would be leaving Peerless after a decade to head out on their own to start a new distillery in Eastern Kentucky near Kilburn’s boyhood country home. As the calendar turns to a new year, the duo has officially turned the page and begun their new journey.
Kilburn and Lawrence are quick to point out that they are both eternally grateful for the friendship and mentorship of Corky and Carson Taylor and the entire Peerless family, as well as for the incredible knowledge and expertise they established over the past decade at the award-winning distillery.
In turning the page, they are now focusing on a new mission—creating a community of craft bourbon makers and delivering Eastern Kentucky a tangible piece of the state’s signature bourbon industry.
Eastern Light to Split Distilling Time Between Their Own Brands & Craft Brands for Others
Far more than another distillery producing a single bourbon brand, Eastern Light will help bring innovation to the spirits industry while supporting craft distillers unlike anything before it, making Kentucky’s bourbon heritage accessible to more makers.
The 230-acre campus will be home to an approximately 50,000 square foot distillery building, rickhouses, a full bottling facility, a unique bourbon tourism experience, a special event space and other operations employing more than 50 full-time staff.
Kilburn and Cordelle say the name Eastern Light is inspired by the rising sun which illuminates a region of Kentucky full of culture, ingenuity, and talented artisans. It is a region marked by natural beauty and abundant resources. The distillery’s brand evokes newness, innovation, directionality, and hope—all of which are reflected in Eastern Light’s mission to provide craft makers with something new in the bourbon industry, a tailored brand experience and their own distillery homeplace.