This image of the Old Taylor Distillery office was taken in the early 20th century. It is an interesting image in that it shows people visiting the distillery. Edmond Haynes Taylor, Jr. was a pioneer in Bourbon tourism. He believed that a distillery should be an attractive place where people could come to visit and see how their favorite whiskey was made. He built the Old Taylor distillery to reflect this belief with a castle as the distillery building and a sunken garden and peristyle as the spring house. There was a train station to bring visitors in to the distillery campus and an improved road for automobiles. That was a second love of E.H. Taylor, Jr. – the automobile.
E. H. Taylor was one of the first people in Frankfort to own an automobile. He was a founding member of the local automobile club. This photograph shows the club visiting the distillery and that is why the vehicles are actually front and center with the people inside their automobiles. Taylor was known for having picnic type events at the distillery. He hosted the Automobile Club more than once. Not only the local club, but visiting clubs were invited to visit the distillery. Taylor was a gracious host at these events, but I am sure it made many of the people attending Old Taylor consumers, so it paid off with increasing sales of his whiskey.
Another interesting thing about this photograph is the lack of advertising. There are no signs indicating the Old Taylor Distillery or brand. You do not even see a bottle anywhere in the photograph. Taylor was a smart man who knew that sometimes you don’t need to use heavy-handed advertising. He knew that the visit, with some good food in a lovely setting, would do more to keep his whiskey in these people’s minds than any blatant advertisement. The only indication that the building is at Old Taylor is the flag flying above the building.
Photos courtesy of Rosemary Miller and from the archives of Michael Veach