The Brough Bothers Distillery is an African-American owned Distillery founded by the brothers, Christian, Victor, and Bryson Yarbrough. In fact, it is the first distillery to be founded and operated by an African-American family. I recently visited there with Rosemary and Maggie Kimberl.  The distillery is located on Dixie Highway in Louisville, Kentucky. It is a small distillery, however, they are expanding to another location on River Road that they hope to have open by March 2023. 

Brough Brothers Distillery makrs about one barrel a week. They have a small pot still and fermenters that are 50 gallon food-grade plastic tubs. They are making very good mash and new make whiskey. They are also making and bottling an unaged rum that is delicious. Bryson is their distiller. I had a very good conversation about their barrel entry proof of 120. He was interested in the conversation and will consider a lower proof for their whiskey. They are using both 30 and 53 gallon barrels for their whiskey at this point, but hope to eventually go to the 53 gallon barrels exclusively when they reach a larger production of aged whiskey. 

The tour is a quick one. You start in the gift shop which is well stocked with many branded items such as t-shirts and barrel heads. They also offer bottles of their Bourbon and rum for sale. The Bourbon is a sourced Bourbon at this point. It has an age statement of at least six months old on the bottle, but it does not taste that young. In fact, Bryson and Victor were telling us that the whiskey is closer to two years old now. 

Leaving the gift shop, you walk back into the tasting room where they poured us samples of the Bourbon and the rum. I was impressed with the rum. It has a sweet, molasses flavor that you don’t find in many un-aged rums. It is bottled at a high proof of 123, but drinks very much as a lower proof product without any alcohol burn. Leaving the tasting room, you move into the distillery itself. It is a small distillery, but it is a clean, well run operation. I could not help myself, so I stuck my finger into their fermenters and tasted the mash. It had a very good flavor with lots of sweet corn, and baking spice notes. I then talked Bryson into pouring me a sample of the new make. They had carboys of new make on the table that had been reduced down to their 120 barrel entry proof. It had an interesting flavor that I had not tasted in a new make spirit before. The new make also had the corn, spice and a bit of apple flavor, but it also had a note of smoky, barbecue ribs flavor that I rather liked.

After touring the distillery, we stood around and talked for a while. We talked about barrel entry proof, mash bills and other subjects. Bryson and Victor told us about a plan to get people in the distillery to make their own barrel of whiskey as a charity barrel. It would involve the charity representative coming into the distillery and making the mash, distilling the whiskey and barreling the new make spirit. The barrel would then be aged and bottled to be sold to support the charity. It was an intriguing idea and I hope they can do it. The Yarbrough Brothers are creative and enthusiastic about growing a legacy in the spirits industry.

I enjoyed my visit to the Brough Bothers Distillery. If you want to visit a small distillery run by a family, I would recommend a trip to the Brough Brothers Distillery.

Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller