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Kentucky Eagle Inc. celebrates 70 years

Kentucky Eagle Inc., a Lexington-based distributor of Anheuser-Busch and other beers and products, is celebrating 70 years as a family-owned business, and company executives say they look forward to a future of family leadership for generations to come.

“My dad bought Bennie Robinson distributing in 1948,” Ann Bakhaus told The Lane Report in March. “It was started in 1933. The company had Hudepohl, Budweiser and Wiedemann beer and sold lettuce and vegetables on the same trucks.” Bakhaus, the daughter of Kentucky Eagle founder O.A. Bakhaus, has been president of the company since 1997.

“My brother was supposed to take over the beer part of my father’s businesses but he decided that he was more interested in the real estate side, so that was when my family made the decision to get into the beer business,” Bakhaus said. “When I got involved in 1997 I was one of four women wholesalers in the nation.”

Bakhaus had no experience in the beer side of the business. “My education was fashion design. But my father always instilled in me that I could do whatever I set my mind to, and I have loved every second of being in the business.”

Kentucky Eagle has 160 employees, distributes 400-plus brands of beer, spirits, wines, ciders, specialty beverages and beer cheese. Kentucky Eagle’s distribution rights cover 19 counties.