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Brothers open first black-owned distillery in Kentucky




LOUISVILLE, Ky. Bryson Yarbrough is a gifted organic chemist. As he organized a tour of his remodeled workspace in southwest Louisville, he lifted the lid of a plastic keg and pointed to the mash porridge inside.

“You can start to smell that scent, can’t you,” he nodded. “I think it’s still fermenting so I have about two days left.”

What would you like to know

  • Brough Brothers was founded as the first black-owned distillery in Kentucky
  • The trio decided to make whiskey after running a distribution business
  • Their bourbon is already sold in several states
  • Their Louisville distillery is open for tours and tastings

Dressed in a fitted suit and tie, Bryson was celebrating the official start of a new business venture.

“When leaving the army, [I was] looking for a place where i can grow and develop, and you really want to come home, just for a little while, ”he said.

He brought his talents as close to home as possible and started a bourbon business with his brothers, Victor and Chris. Under the name Brough Brothers Distillery, the trio officially opened their distillery on Dixie Highway.

“I’ve been looking forward to this moment for a while,” Chris smirked. As the company’s marketing director, he explained how he spent “a few years” building the brand in Arizona. As the grand opening was celebrated on Friday, bottles of Brough Brothers Bourbon Whiskey adorn shelves from Florida to Nevada, Michigan to Louisiana.

This kind of early reach can be at least partially attributed to the brothers’ introduction into the spirits industry when they ran a distribution company as early as 2012.

“It’s been a pretty long trip; a lot of sweat, blood and tears; a lot of resilience to get there,” Victor said during Friday’s ribbon cutting. “We’ve put a lot of work into getting here. In particular, I want to thank Bryson and Chris for really pushing this to the finish line for us.”

While the Brough Brothers were the first in Kentucky, they are far from the only ones Black whiskey distillers in the United States Other achievements in the industry by black Americans throughout history have often been discounted and probably dismissed.

Most commonly, Nathan “Nearest” Green taught Jack Daniel how to distill whiskey in Tennessee when Green was enslaved by a man Daniel worked for as a child.

Bryson recognized the importance of establishing his business in a home town and state that proudly proclaims itself the best whiskey makers in the world. But he hesitated when asked if he was a pioneer.

Before he could think about it, he had to make sure Brough Brothers got off on the right foot.

“Pioneer? I don’t see it from that perspective,” he said. “,

But, after thinking more, he seemed excited about the opportunity to be an example in the neighborhood.

“I believe when people come in they can feel like it’s possible for them as well.”




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