FRANKFORT, Ky. – The Bard Distillery in Muhlenberg County is the newest and 41st member of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, the non-profit trade group for the state’s signature bourbon and distilled spirits industry.
Inspired by a trip to Maker’s Mark Distillery in 2006, Tom and Kim Bard opened The Bard last year in Muhlenberg County’s historic Graham School with the vision of restoring the property which has deep roots in the community. Tom Bard attended the school, as did three generations of his family.
His fourth great-grandfather was William Bard, one of two brothers who founded Bardstown, Ky.
A mechanical engineer, Tom Bard learned to distill from a decade of study and networking, including attending Distillery Camp at KDA Craft member MB Roland Distillery in Pembroke, Ky. The Bard campus features a distillery, visitor center and gift shop with plans for future expansion.
Kim Bard is a former middle school principal and NASCAR driver, and she continues to race monster trucks in Australia when time allows. No stranger to setting lofty goals and achieving them, Tom Bard said Kim is a driving force behind the growth and success of the distillery.
“We couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the KDA,” Tom Bard said. “Kim and I have dedicated years of our lives to our distillery, and to finally be open, operating, and now a recognized member of Kentucky’s growing group of distillers, it’s an honor and a dream come true.”
Current products include Cinder & Smoke, a 13-year-old straight bourbon whiskey, and Silver Muhl White Whiskey. In addition to producing bourbon and whiskey this year, The Bard Distillery halted production to create much-needed hand sanitizer over the summer to help with the COVID-19 pandemic.
KDA President Eric Gregory said the Bards demonstrate a true commitment to the heritage of Kentucky’s signature distilling industry and to the preservation of a local landmark
“We are thrilled to welcome the Bards into our growing family of Kentucky’s finest distillers,” Gregory said. “We look forward to their leadership, supporting their success and working together to responsibly grow and sustain Kentucky’s iconic bourbon and distilled spirits industry.”
The Bard is the KDA’s 16th Craft-level member, aging less than 10,000 barrels a year, and joins an impressive list of flourishing distilleries in the Western Kentucky region, including MB Roland and Casey Jones in Christian County and Dueling Grounds in Simpson County.
The Bard also is now eligible to join the KDA’s Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour.
Founded in 1880, the KDA is the state’s voice for bourbon and spirits issues. Its diverse membership produces the overwhelming majority of the world’s bourbon, from legendary, global brands to emerging micro distilleries that are building the next generation of the timeless craft.