Hosting an outdoor springtime event with more than 450 invited guests in Bardstown, Kentucky can be a bit dicey. On Monday there was a nip in the air and a fresh coating of snow on the ground. By Wednesday, the day that Luxco had been working toward for more than three years that all changed. On this day, just like the lyrics to the states song “My Old Kentucky Home”, the words could not have rang truer, “The sun shines bright in the old Kentucky home.” The temperature was in the mid-60s, there was a light breeze in the air and the sky was a crystal clear blue. On this springtime grand opening day, the sun was shining bright on the 90 acre property that is home to a Kentucky National Historic Home built in 1795 and the new home to Lux Row Distillers.
The event was kicked off with the sound of drums and bagpipes off in the distance. That sound got louder and louder as the Kentucky United Pipes and Drums marching band turned the corner and marched through the crowd (literally) and made their way across the property to serenade the raising of the new Lux Row Distillers flag. You can hear and see much of the celebration in the video below.
Luxco Creative Director Michelle Lux kicked off the ceremony explaining that Donn Lux, her husband and Chairman and CEO of Luxco loves bagpipes. “Quick story about Donn Lux that nobody knows. His favorite music is bagpipes. At our wedding 28 years ago he asked for bagpipes, I said no. Our 20th anniversary he asked for bagpipes, I said no. The opening for Lux Row Distillers he asked for bagpipes, third time is a charm.” It was a great way to kick off such a celebration.
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The Largest Commitment in Luxco History
Luxco has been in the bourbon business for many years but until this project, the company has never made its own juice. That all changed when the company started distillation at this location in January 2018. Luxco President and COO David Bratcher explained, “The most significant investment we have is here. This was a huge commitment unlike anything we’ve done as a company. We’ve spent and bought brands and bought other companies but we’ve never made quite the investment into a single physical asset like we have here. That’s because he (Donn Lux) has confidence in us. He has confidence in our brands and that we can deliver on this.” The new distillery will start out producing around 20,000 barrels of bourbon a year with the ability to increase to 50,000 in the future.
Donn Lux Shares the History of Luxco
And finally, the man who loves the bag pipes, Luxco Chairman and CEO Donn Lux got to share his story on how the Luxco brand, founded in 1958 and originally known as David Sherman Corporation came about and how they got where they are today. Not only was this a grand opening but it many ways it was an “All Company Meeting.” The company bused in all its employees from their St. Louis headquarters and Cleveland, OH facility to join in the celebration.
“I stand before you today not so much as your Chairman and CEO, I happen to have the right last name so I guess someone has to be the Chairman and CEO. Really much more as a steward of our company history and our heritage. And really what you see today behind you, David talked a little bit about it, is a culmination of years and years of foresight and risk taking and a belief in the people and the individuals within the organization by two men who are not here today. One of them was my grandfather, David Sherman Sr. He dropped out of school, he was born in 1902 in rural Arkansas, he dropped out of school somewhere between the third and eighth grade. He knew how to get a deal done. He was always a deal maker. He went to work at a very young age. Somehow, he says after Prohibition I could really never get him to admit it, but during Prohibition he was probably running whiskey. But he became a salesman in Arkansas, worked his way up and bought some distributorships in Arkansas and Missouri and he really had a foresight on how to get deals done. He was the ultimate hustler and whiskey man. He always knew how to bring people together and get people to really come together and produce a great result.”
“And then there’s his son-in-law, my father, Paul Lux. The two of them could not be more polar opposites. Dad was raised in Kansas City, Missouri. Born in 1930, was a great student, loved school, always wanted to go to MIT. Finished near the top of his high school class and got into MIT and got on a train, sight unseen, slide rule, pocket square, big old glasses and off he went to MIT to find his way. Somehow those two men came together and built what was David Sherman Corporation and is now Luxco.”
“It’s certainly a day to remember for me…I think Dad, Dave and David are looking down on us and as we say back home, ‘Let’s go Luxco,’ we can say it here, ‘Let’s Go Lux Row!'”
And right after his remarks, the ribbon was cut and the doors were opened to Lux Row Distillers.
Lux Row Distillers produces Kentucky straight bourbon brands Ezra Brooks, Rebel Yell, David Nicholson and Blood Oath Bourbon. The distillery is now open Wednesday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Sunday from 12:30 to 4:00 p.m. Tours are offered at the top of every hour and include a 45-minute walking tour of the site and an educational tasting seminar in the distillery’s Tasting Room, where guests enjoy a bourbon tasting and learn about the history of the Luxco.
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