Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

Buffalo Trace Distillery

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Location  Frankfort, Kentucky
NRHP Reference #  01000450
Phone  +1 502-696-5926
Built  1792
Added to NRHP  May 2, 2001
Buffalo Trace Distillery
Address  113 Great Buffalo Trace, Frankfort, KY 40601, USA
Hours  Open today · 9AM–5:30PMMonday9AM–5:30PMTuesday9AM–5:30PMWednesday9AM–5:30PMThursday9AM–5:30PMFriday9AM–5:30PMSaturday9AM–5:30PMSunday12–5PM
Architects  Leo L. Oberwarth, Albert Bacon Blanton
Architectural styles  Colonial Revival architecture, Romanesque architecture
Similar  Kentucky Bourbon Trail, The Glenlivet distillery, Old Bushmills Distillery, Ben Nevis distillery, Kilbeggan Distillery

Kentucky farm bureau presents bluegrass backroads buffalo trace distillery

Buffalo Trace Distillery is a distillery located in Frankfort, Kentucky. It has historically been known by several names, including most notably, the George T. Stagg Distillery and the O.F.C. Distillery. Its namesake bourbon brand, Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon whiskey, was introduced in August 1999. The company claims the distillery is the oldest continuously-operating distillery in the United States. Located on what the company claims was once an ancient buffalo crossing on the banks of the Kentucky River in Franklin County, the distillery is named after the American bison. The Sazerac Company, an American family-owned producer and importer based in New Orleans, Louisiana, purchased the distillery in 1992 and is now the parent company of Buffalo Trace Distillery.


Under its old name, George T. Stagg Distillery, the property was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 2, 2001, and designated a National Historic Landmark on March 11, 2013.

A visit to the buffalo trace distillery


The company claims the distillery to be the oldest continuously operating distillery in the United States. Another distillery with similar historical extent is Burks' distillery, now used for production of Maker's Mark. According to its citation in the registry of National Historic Landmarks, Burks' Distillery's origins extend to 1805, and Burks' Distillery is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest operating bourbon distillery.

Records indicate that distilling started on the site that is now the Buffalo Trace Distillery in 1775 by Hancock Lee and his brother Willis Lee who died in 1776. The oldest building on the site, the Riverside house, was constructed in 1792 by Commodore Richard Taylor and is still standing. The first distillery was constructed in 1812 by Harrison Blanton. In 1870 the distillery was purchased by Edmund H. Taylor and given its first name, the Old Fire Copper (O.F.C.) Distillery. Taylor sold the distillery eight years later to George T. Stagg along with the Old Oscar Pepper Distillery. This second distillery was sold within the year to James Graham, in order to add more land to the O.F.C. Distillery. In 1886, Stagg installed steam heating in the storage warehouses, the first climate controlled warehouse for aging whiskey in the nation.

During Prohibition, the distillery was allowed to remain operational, in order to make whiskey for "medicinal purposes".

In 1972 Gary Gayheart became the master distiller. After his retirement in 2005, he was succeeded by Harlen Wheatley.

In 2016 Buffalo Trace Distillery announced plans to expand operations with a capital investment of $200 million.


Production capacity at Buffalo Trace is estimated at about 2,650,000 US gallons (10,000,000 L) of whiskey per year. This is carried out at a beer still with a capacity of 60,000 US gallons (230,000 L).


While Buffalo Trace Distillery is mainly known for its bourbon, it also produces other spirits such as rye whiskey and vodka. "Buffalo Trace" is a bourbon brand made by the Distillery. It was introduced in August 1999, two months after the distillery changed its name from the George T. Stagg Distillery. Approximately 25–30 barrels are selected and mixed before bottling. It has won several awards since its introduction.

The following spirits are produced by Buffalo Trace Distillery:


  • The Distillery itself was named "Brand Innovator of the Year 2015" and "Whiskey Distiller of the Year 2014" by Whisky Magazine's "Icons of Whisky America".
  • Multiple whiskeys produced at the Distillery have performed well in international spirit ratings competitions, including the Ultimate Spirits Challenge (USC), San Francisco World Spirits Competition (SFWSC), Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition (LAIWSC), and the International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC).
  • Whiskey writer Jim Murray named Sazerac Rye 18 Year Old the "Third Finest Whisky in the World" in his Jim Murray's Whisky Bible 2015 (ISBN 978-0955472992).
  • 2014 competition results included the USC Chairman's Trophy awarded to George T. Stagg; SFWSC Double Gold Medals awarded to Pappy Van Winkle 20 YO, W. L. Weller 12 YO and Stagg Jr.; LAIWSC's Best of Category award to Sazerac Straight Rye, and a Gold Outstanding Medal awarded by the IWSC to Eagle Rare Single Barrel Bourbon.
  • In a late 2014 competition, the New York World Wine & Spirits Competition, Double Gold Medals were awarded to Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Blanton's Single Barrel Bourbon and Eagle Rare Single Barrel Bourbon, which was also named Best in Show Spirits Sweepstakes Winner for "Best Bourbon, Best Whiskey & Best Brown Goods."
  • Eagle Rare won the inaugural "Bourbon Trophy" at the 2013 IWSC, as well as a Gold Outstanding Medal.
  • A 2013 Ultimate Spirits Challenge Chairman's Trophy winner was Blanton's, which also won a Double Gold Medal at the 2013 San Francisco competition and a Gold Medal at the IWSC of 2013.
  • Other Double Gold Medal winners at the San Francisco Competition in 2013 include Sazerac Straight Rye, Col. E. H. Taylor Small Batch, Pappy Van Winkle 15 Year and William Larue Weller.
  • Pappy 15 Year was named 2013's Best Small Batch Bourbon and Best Bourbon at the 2013 San Francisco event.
  • Similar accolades - including Chairman's Trophy Finalist, Gold, Outstanding Silver and Silver medals have been awarded to Buffalo Trace Distillery whiskeys at these same competitions in 2012, 2011, 2010 and earlier.
  • References

    Buffalo Trace Distillery Wikipedia

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