Whiskey making has been an integral part of American history since frontier times. In Kentucky, early settlers brought stills to preserve grain, and they soon found that the limestone-filtered water and the unique climate of the scenic Bluegrass region made it an ideal place for the production of barrel-aged liquor. And so, bourbon whiskey was born.
More than two hundred commercial distilleries were operating in Kentucky before Prohibition, but only sixty-one reopened after its repeal in 1933. As the popularity of America’s native spirit increases worldwide, many historic distilleries are being renovated, refurbished, and brought back into operation. Unfortunately, these spaces, with their antique tools and aging architecture, are being dismantled to make way for modern structures and machinery. In “The Birth of Bourbon: A Photographic Tour of Early Distilleries,” award-winning photographer Carol Peachee takes readers on an unforgettable tour of lost distilleries as well as facilities undergoing renewal, such as the famous Old Taylor and James E. Pepper distilleries in Lexington, Kentucky. This beautiful book also includes spaces that well-known brands, including Maker’s Mark, Woodford Reserve, Four Roses, and Buffalo Trace, have preserved as a homage to their rich histories.
Photographer and Author Carol Peachee talks “The Birth of Bourbon” on NPR
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Using a technique known as high-dynamic-range imaging—a process that produces rich saturation, intensely clarified details, and a full spectrum of light—Peachee reveals the vibrant life lingering in artifacts from worn cypress fermenting tubs to extravagant copper stills. This lavish celebration of bourbon’s heritage will delight whiskey aficionados, history buffs, and art lovers alike.
The pictures in this book speak more than a thousand words each. The author takes the idea of a private tour of a distillery to a whole new level. The Birth of Bourbon approaches the subject of bourbon from a very different perspective and reminds the reader that the fashion of bourbon is not a new idea but is fragile. You can purchase the book here.
A Beautiful Photographic Excursion Through Historic Bourbon Distilleries – Additional photographs.
Carol Peachee has done an excellent job of preserving glimpses of America’s distilling heritage. Many of the old distilleries depicted in these images are long gone, while others are being repurposed, but changed. These images preserve the past as the future changes the distilling industry.
— Michael Veach, author of Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage
This amazing coffee table book is a must have gem. You can pick up your own copy of The Birth of Bourbon: A Photographic Tour of Early Distilleries here.