Brough Brothers Distillery located in the Park Hill neighborhood of downtown Louisville, Kentucky became the first African-American owned distillery in the state to mash, ferment and distill their own spirits last year. What was that first spirits run? Bourbon of course. Since then, they’ve had several firsts and today was another one.
Brough Brothers Distillery was founded by brothers Victor, Bryson and Chris Yarbrough. The company began in the United Kingdom in 2012 as a bourbon and spirits import/export business then established a presence in the U.S. in 2013, with plans for its distilling business dating back to 2017.
Brough Brothers Distillery – A Company of Many Firsts
Stay Informed: Sign up here for the Distillery Trail free email newsletter and be the first to get all the latest news, trends, job listings and events in your inbox.
For many, 2020 was a year to forget but not for this young distillery. It was on December 31, 2020 that Brough Brothers Distillery made their first legal batch of bourbon from scratch and entered it into an American oak barrel for aging. A few months later Brough Brothers joined the Kentucky Distillers’ Association as the 42nd member of the Association and the first African-American owned distillery member since the Associations founding in 1880.
And now, this small startup distillery is the first African-American owned distillery in the state of Kentucky to open its doors to the public for tours.
Visitors can now tour this 2,200-square-foot facility and see where the bourbon is made. The tour highlights the copper and steel stills used to produce their one barrel of bourbon per week. The company expects to ramp up to five to 10 barrels per week by the end of 2021.
“Brough Brothers Distillery is excited to share this historically significant event with the public,” said Brough Brothers Distillery CEO Victor Yarbrough.
“As Kentucky’s economy continues to boom, I am excited to celebrate the grand opening of the Brough Brothers Distillery,” said Kentucky Lt. Governor Jacqueline Coleman, who attended the grand opening. “This will create career opportunities in Louisville, and I look forward to Brough Brothers adding to the commonwealth’s signature bourbon industry.”
“I want to congratulate the leaders of Brough Brothers Distillery as they open their facility to the public,” Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said. “This is a tremendous project for our state’s bourbon industry for a number of reasons, particularly as this is the first African American-owned distillery to be recognized as a member of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association. I look forward to seeing Brough Brothers grow in Louisville’s Park Hill neighborhood.”
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer lauded the company’s leaders for this major milestone within Kentucky’s bourbon industry.
“I want to congratulate Victor, Christian and Bryson Yarbrough for pouring their hearts and spirits into their vision for creating the first Black-owned distillery on Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail,” Mayor Fischer said. “Bourbon is a critical part of our growing economy, and with the addition of this new distillery in the historic Park Hill neighborhood, the industry will grow stronger and investments will continue to flow into the area.”
Currently, nearly 70 spirits facilities employ more than 5,100 people full-time in the Kentucky. Since the start of 2020, the industry has announced approximately 30 projects in Kentucky, totaling more than $500 million in new investment and nearly 500 projected jobs.
The company currently employs eight people with plans for future growth. Company leaders also anticipate future expansion – either on-site or at a new location – to include a line of premium bourbon, as well as a bourbon to honor veterans.
Brough Brothers Bourbon Available Now in 25 States
The company currently sells Brough Brothers Bourbon Whiskey, an 82 proof sourced whiskey. The bottle design features images highlighting Kentucky’s culture, including bourbon, basketball, boxing, horse racing and Louisville’s iconic skyline. It’s currently available it 25 states with several expected to be added soon.
Tours of Brough Brothers Distillery are available now by appointment.