NewsCovering Kentucky


Restoring a family legacy in Lawrenceburg

Posted at 6:43 PM, May 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-05 18:43:27-04

LAWRENCEBURG, Ky. (LEX 18) — The Ripy House in Lawrenceburg is a historic home that was almost lost to history until descendants stepped in.

"There was leopard skin wallpaper all over the floors, walls, and ceilings. It was a total disaster," said George Geoghegan III, co-owner of the Ripy House.

The home was literally built by bourbon.

"T.B. Ripy was the largest independent sour mash distiller at one time," said Geoghegan.

One of his first partners was "Judge" William Harrison McBrayer. He was also a longtime distiller.

"And they said his whiskey turned the heads of aristocrats in Europe from whiskey to Kentucky bourbon," said W.G. "Bill" McBrayer IV.

Judge McBrayer's name remained on bottles deep into the 20th century, but like the Ripy House, McBrayer's legacy was almost lost to history. In the past decade, Bill McBrayer and his father uncovered the old mash bill. In 2016, they restored the family name in the bourbon industry.

"His mash bill that we found in the letter was an 88% corn bourbon,” said McBrayer. “And it is a very distinct bourbon.”

The bottle will be released to the market this weekend. Bill McBrayer is holding the relaunch of the label at the Ripy House on Saturday May 8.

"He and T.B. Ripy were partners in TD's first distillery. And then T.B. Ripy bought him out a year later and it was just fitting that we would do our first release here," said McBrayer.