FRANKFORT, Ky. – The Kentucky Distillers’Association today said Brough Brothers Distillery in Louisville is the newest and 42nd member of the non-profit trade group that unites and leads Kentucky’s signature bourbon and distilled spirits industry.
Brough Brothers Distillery is the first and only African American-owned, licensed and operating distillery in Kentucky, the KDA said. It was founded by Victor, Bryson and Christian Yarbrough, three brothers who were born and raised in Louisville.
The distillery at 1460 Dixie Highway opened in December 2020. The brothers chose the Park Hill community location as a way to support local businesses and economic growth in the historically underserved area of Louisville’s West End.
Bourbon is an $8.6 billion economic engine that generates more than 20,100 Kentucky jobs with an annual payroll topping $1 billion each year, and is one of the state’s main tourism drivers through the KDA’s Kentucky Bourbon Trail® adventures.
“We are committed to these initiatives and doing more to create long-term, permanent and historic change in our industry,” Gregory said. “We have a lot of work to do – but we can and will do more to lead our industry, and we are grateful to Brough Brothers for their leadership and support.”
Brough Brothers Bourbon is currently available on shelves, an 82-proof whiskey with a mash bill of 75% corn, 21% rye and 4% malted barley. The sleek bottle features drawings of Kentucky’s vibrant culture: Bourbon, basketball, boxing, horse racing and Louisville’s iconic skyline.
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.
Brough Brothers Distillery is the KDA’s 24th Craft-level member, aging less than 10,000 barrels a year, and joins an impressive list of flourishing distilleries in the Louisville area, including Angel’s Envy, Brown-Forman, Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, Heaven Hill, Michter’s, Old Forester, Rabbit Hole, Stitzel-Weller, Barrell Craft Spirits, Copper & Kings, Kentucky Peerless and Moonshine University.
Jessica Pendergrass, KDA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Panel co-chair and general counsel and chief compliance officer for Heaven Hill Brands, said the addition of Brough Brothers brings much needed perspective to the industry.
Victor and Christian serve on the KDA DEI Advisory Panel, a group of community and business leaders that steer and guide initiatives for the industry.
“African-Americans have helped to build and shape our industry, and we need these resilient, entrepreneurial, and empowered voices at the table,” Pendergrass said.
In addition to the DEI Advisory Panel, the KDA is taking steps to cultivate a culture of diversity, inclusivity, meaningful engagement and collaboration within the industry.
Last year, the KDA created the Lifting Spirits Foundation to fund scholarships at the University of Kentucky, University of Louisville and Kentucky State University’s distilling and fermentation programs to benefit Black, LGBTQIA, women, people of color and other minority and underrepresented groups.
The scholarships, coined “KDA Scholars,” will be funded for many years to come at these flagship institutions. The non-profit group also is working to build similar scholarships at other Kentucky educational institutions in an effort to expand opportunities for traditionally underrepresented, young professionals to launch meaningful careers in Kentucky’s Bourbon and distilled spirits industry.