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Bourbon Origin Story

Around here, you don’t spend a lot of time wondering where the county got its name. 

State history records show in 1810 Bourbon County had 128 distilleries producing about 146,000 gallons valued at more than $48,000.

With his keen distiller’s sensibilities, Pennsylvanian farmer Jacob Spears came to Paris in the late 1700s and along with Samuel Williams created one of the earliest brands, “Best Old Whiskey,” which he bottled and sent his grown sons down the Mississippi River to sell in New Orleans.  

Just north of Paris, a house known as Stone Castle was built in 1790 by Thomas Metcalf for Spears, which along with a springhouse and storehouse still stand today.

Hartfield & Company

After a “long dry spell,” so to speak, that started with and lingered long after Prohibition, Hartfield & Co. took up the mantle in 2014, producing bourbon from its three-story historic downtown distillery, along with tour experiences. A small batch distillery, Hartfield & Co is the first licensed distillery in Bourbon County since Prohibition. Because of this, their philosophy is to preserve the tradition of a Pre-Prohibition style bourbon, that emulates the profile of how the spirit would have tasted over 100 years ago. 

Their intention is to be a craft distillery in every sense of the concept – often times this means doing things the hard way. They take pride in their distillation technique, and every step of their process is guided with intention and care. Their products are made in small batches, with a focus on creating truly great spirits, sourced from only the best local ingredients. Plan a visit today!

We’re also an hour or less from distilleries in Lexington, Georgetown, Winchester, Maysville, Lawrenceburg and Versailles, so consider us your hub for bourbon experiences!