Though 2020 was a mostly forgettable year for craft distillers across the country for one startup distillery it was a year to remember. Brough Brothers Distillery made history as Kentucky’s first African-American owned and operated distillery as they officially filled their first barrel of bourbon December 31, 2020.
Brough Brothers Distillery is owned and self-funded by brothers Victor, Chris and Bryson Yarbrough. It’s not hard to figure out the inspiration for the distillery name as ‘Brough’ has been a part of their names all their lives. They formed the company in 2013 and received their federal distillery registration and permit in August 2018.
The spirits world is not new to the family as Victor has been selling and distributing spirits for almost a decade now. And as any craft spirits distillery start up knows, understanding the distribution side of the business is one of the most challenging parts of launching a new distillery and will surely help to jump start this new business.
“We started as an import and export company,” explained Victor Yarbrough. “We’ve been around since 2012 in the UK and since 2013 in the U.S. We have a pretty good handle on how to get the product out into the market. We’ve been behind the scene for a while now. We’ve kind of done a reverse process compared to other distillers where we learned the sales and distribution side first. We got a grasp on that and we’re now making product.”
The three brothers chose to start their new venture in their hometown of Louisville. They say they want to produce a quality bourbon whiskey in an industry that has thus far remained largely inaccessible to minority entrepreneurs. They are committed to supporting other local businesses in an effort to revitalize the West End neighborhood in which Brough Brothers is based. One of the goals of this new startup is to provide job opportunities and economic growth for the community of Park Hill, a historically underserved area of Louisville’s West End. The distillery resides within about five minutes of the world headquarters for both Heaven Hill and Brown-Forman brands.
“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,” said Victor. “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.”
Brough Brothers Bourbon is Available in 5 States with 20 on the Way
As Brough Brothers understands the distribution side of the spirits they’ve already started selling their own bourbon in five states. The distillery has sourced a six month old bourbon from a well known Indiana distillery and they are bottling it in their home state of Kentucky.
“We are selling in five states right now including Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Tennessee and Kentucky with distribution deals set up for another 20 states. We’ll be in Georgia and Texas in January for a total of 25 states by mid-2021.”
Kentucky’s 1st African-American Owned Distillery
Brough Brothers Distillery was officially recognized by Kentucky’s Senate as the state’s first African American-owned distillery in August 2020. Approved by the Kentucky Alcoholic Beverage Control Board in September.
Brough Brothers made history this past New Year’s Eve as it distilled and filled its first barrel of bourbon on December 31, 2020. The distillery will be open for business to bourbon enthusiasts by appointment starting in Spring 2021.
🚨Brough Brothers Made History Today🚨— Brough Brothers Distillery (@BroughBrothers) January 1, 2021
Kentucky’s first and only African American owned distillery filled its first-ever BARREL OF BOURBON on Dec 31st, 2020. We wanted to share with our supporters to bring in the New Year on a positive note. pic.twitter.com/b7hepLjMnG