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New distillery connecting with bourbon history

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Posted at 9:20 PM, Jun 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-30 13:16:42-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — For more than three months, many distilleries have done their part to provide hand sanitizer to Kentuckians, especially front-line workers, during the pandemic.

Now that we are in the next phase of reopening businesses, there are more things to keep in mind as more reasons to travel across the Bluegrass come available.

There's one distillery that isn't necessarily rebounding but resurrecting a name and some Lexington history.

Manchester Street is the corridor to the Distillery District. The area is not only a hotspot in Lexington, but a connection to bourbon history. It's now a spot of inspiration for Barry Brinegar.

"We felt really strongly we wanted to resurrect Lexington's first federally registered distillery back in 1865, that was Ashland Distillery," said Brinegar.

The new distillery is named William Tarr Distillery, named for the man who acquired Ashland Distillery in 1871.

Brinegar and his co-founder are teaming with investors and bourbon enthusiasts, including UK Football Head Coach Mark Stoops, to reconnect with history and keep more tourism dollars here.

"A lot of times, folks will come in to Bluegrass Airfield, they'll spend the night in Lexington, and then they go to Frankfort, they go to Bardstown. They go to Louisville, and we just felt like if we were a part of the Lexington bourbon market that we would have another destination location for people to stay and enjoy the things that Lexington has to offer," said Brinegar.

On Wednesday, the new label for William Tarr Distillery will be unveiled. But you'll have to wait a bit before trying one of their first releases.

"Our bottles will be on the shelf by the end of August, so we're really fortunate to move at breakneck speed in this time," said Brinegar.

Brinegar says the distillery will likely be located in the Distillery District's old rickhouse, right by two other distilleries.

"Officially we're going to have a still that's going to be producing, you know initially when craft distilleries get started they produce clear spirits, vodka, gin, and we'll be producing our own vodka and products on-site," said Brinegar.