It’s been nine years in the making, so what’s another 15 minutes? As the Yarbrough brothers — Victor, Bryson and Christian — eagerly awaited the official ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday afternoon at their new Brough Brothers Distillery in Louisville’s Park Hill neighborhood, the sky opened up and poured rain on the medium-sized crowd of family members, business supporters, government officials, media and industry folks.
Victor Yarbrough didn’t seem to mind one bit, and he helped usher people — including Congressman John Yarmuth, Mayor Greg Fischer and Lt. Governor Jacqueline Coleman — underneath the distillery overhang and tent that was set up in the parking lot.
After about 15 minutes, the rain subsided and it was back to business: cutting the ribbon on an enterprise the brothers started in 2012 that was finally coming to fruition.
Brough Brothers Distillery is now open to the public in a modest building that sits off Dixie Highway.
“It’s an exciting process being able to be in Louisville’s West End and being able to age bourbon in a community where you come from,” said Christian Yarbrough, CMO, in a news release put out before the ribbon cutting.
During the ceremony, Victor Yarbrough said the distillery accomplishes two goals for him: building a legacy and opening up opportunities for others.
Brough Brothers is the first black-owned distillery in Kentucky, and with Bryson Yarbrough at the helm of distilling, he’ll be the state’s first black master distiller as well.
“As Louisville’s Congressman and the founder and co-chair of the Congressional Bourbon Caucus, I’m thrilled to help celebrate the grand opening of Brough Brothers Distillery in West Louisville,” said John Yarmuth. “Black Louisvillians have been involved in distilling for centuries, and the Yarbrough family’s work to build this company from the ground up is a tremendous step forward in making the distilled spirits industry more reflective of our nation, our city and our people.”
Eric Gregory, president of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, welcomed Brough Brothers as the 42nd member distillery, noting that No. 42 is no coincidence since it belonged to Jackie Robinson, the first black baseball player in Major League Baseball.
“Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball, and Brough Brothers will break the color barrier in bourbon,” he said.
The brothers filled their first barrel of bourbon in 2020, and they already have bottles available locally and in 23 states total. The flagship Brough Brothers brand is bottled at 82 proof, aged a minimum of six months and was distilled in Indiana.
Brough Brothers Distillery is located at 1460 Dixie Highway. While tours haven’t started quite yet, there is a gift shop and tasting room on site.