James Pepper distillery fills first barrels in 50 years

2nd January, 2018 by Melita Kiely

Kentucky-based James E Pepper Distillery has filled its first Bourbon barrels in more than 50 years, after officially reopening just before Christmas.

James E Pepper Distillery

James E Pepper Distillery has filled its first barrels in more than 50 years

The Georgetown Trading Co – producer of the James E Pepper 1776 whiskey brand – revealed plans to rebuild the historic James E Pepper Distillery in Lexington, Kentucky, back in May 2016.

The original distillery was built in Lexington in 1869 by Colonel James E Pepper and was operational until 1958 when it was shut down and left dormant for more than 50 years.

The distillery was only the fifth site to be issued a distillery license in Kentucky. The new building will use water from the historic limestone well 200ft below ground, as well as locally grown corn and rye in its whiskey production.

Amir Peay, owner of the James Pepper Distilling Co, said: “This is truly a historic occasion and the culmination of a 10-year effort to restore both this iconic brand and the distillery to their proper places in the annals of Kentucky whiskey.

“The best part is that we are just getting started and are excited to distil unique, high quality whiskies and to share them with the world when the time is right.”

The distillery houses a copper still system from Vendome Copper in Louisville, and takes its design inspiration from the archive of historic mechanical drawings of the old distillery.

Vendome was also employed to create the still for the original distillery in 1934 following the repeal of Prohibition.

Once fully completed in spring 2018, the distillery will also feature a museum depicting the life of its founder, as well as a collection of historic materials put together during 10 years of research. Tours will also be available to members of the public.

Leave a Reply