Kentucky Historical Marker #2445 on Louisville, Kentucky’s Whiskey Row commemorates the life and times of Evan Williams. According to the marker, Evan Williams built the first commercial distillery along the Ohio River in 1783. Historic records show that his distillery was built on Main Street in a parcel of land marked as Square 6. When Prohibition went into effect in the U.S. distilling operations along Whiskey Row disappeared.
That all changed in 2013 when Heaven Hill opened the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience marking the first time that a fully functioning distillery returned to Whiskey Row since Prohibition. The Evan Williams Bourbon Experience is a small operation making a barrel of whiskey per day. For comparison purposes, the Heaven Hill Bernheim Distillery just a few blocks away distills 1,500 barrels of whiskey per day, that’s well 1500 times as many. In other words, to Heaven Hill’s credit, they didn’t build the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience for whiskey production, they built it to restart Louisville’s age-old tradition of distilling on Whiskey Row and of course tourism. A decade later, there are now more than a dozen operating distilleries in downtown Louisville. You can find them all here.
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In 2018 the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience filled its 1,000th barrel of whiskey. In 2021 the distillery released its first ever bourbon made at this distillery. That bourbon was named “Square 6” paying homage to the original location of its 1783 distillery. And now, 10 years after opening, Artisanal Master Distiller Jodie Filiatreau just filled and bunged the distillery’s 2,000th barrel of whiskey.
Filiatreau said the 2,000 barrel was filled with the Square 6 High-Rye Rye Whiskey, the second release in the Square 6 lineup after its original bourbon release. Filiatreau was joined in the filling and celebration by Heaven Hill Distillery Kentucky Visitor Experiences Director Jeff Crowe and Evan Williams Bourbon Experience General Manager Ashley Cuyjet-Fetter.
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The Evan Williams Bourbon Experience® celebrates the legacy of Evan Williams, Kentucky’s first commercial distiller, through an immersive visitor’s center experience which brings to life the history and tradition of Kentucky’s native spirit. An official stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®, the facility offers guests a historical glimpse back in time to see Evan Williams’ original distillery through high-definition video recreations of the Louisville wharf and Main Street in the late 18th Century, plus recreations of Whiskey Row building facades along Main Street from the 1890’s through the present.
Evan Williams 1755 – 1810
Kentucky Historical Marker #2445
A native of Wales, Evan Williams came to Kentucky around 1780. In 1783, he built his distillery on the banks of the Ohio River, distilling whiskey from corn on the east side of what is now 5th Street. It is said to have been the first commercial distillery in Kentucky, shipping barrels by flatboat down the Ohio River.
A native of Wales, Williams came to Kentucky around 1780. In 1783, he built his distillery on the banks of the Ohio River, distilling whiskey from corn on the east side of what is now 5th Street. IT is said to have been the first commercial distillery in Kentucky, shipping barrels by flatboat down the Ohio River.
– Evan Williams Artisanal Bourbon Distillery Bungs its 1,000th Barrel – 2018
– 8 Years In, Evan Williams Bourbon Experience on Whiskey Row Releases ‘Square 6’ its 1st Ever Bourbon Whiskey – 2021
– What is Bourbonism?
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Learn more about Evan Williams Bourbon Experience.
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