Town Branch • Lexington, KY
Distilery Tours- Monday – Saturday: 10am – 4pm; Sunday: 12pm – 4pm. All tours start on the hour and the facility is closed on major national holidays. Tickets for admission are $7. (Photo below from here.)
What makes Town Branch Distillery different from other distilleries?
- It is owned by the Lexington Brewing and Distilling Company, which makes both beer and bourbon.
- It is the youngest distillery on the Bourbon Trail, opening in 2012. Prior to that, they produced Kentucky Ale.
- It is the first distillery opened in Lexington in over 100 years.
- It gets it’s name and water from Town Branch, a limestone-bottomed creek running through Lexington.
A Brief History
This distillery was founded by Pearse Lyons, the president and founder of animal nutrition company Alltech, in 2012. Prior to that, the facility was (as still is) a beer distillery. Mr. Lyons received a doctorate in brewing from the British School of Malting and Brewing in Birmingham, UK. He is also very influential in agribusiness- founding an animal feed company Alltech, sponsoring a major equestrian event (the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games held in Lexington) with that company, and open one of the largest commercial algae production sites in the world. Though the distillery may be young, it recieves a significant amount of attention because of it’s connection to this pinnacle of business/agriculture.
Town Branch was the last stop and fourth distillery of our first day. We were pretty tired and I was afraid that the tour itself would be boring as the facility looked so small. Boy, was I wrong! The tour met in a nice brick building where the gift shop is housed. We were shown a brief video about Lexington Brewing and Distilling Company, it’s connection to Alltech and Pearse Lyons, and it’s brief history. Our tour guide led us and another couple through the small brewery area. They brew five beers that are very popular in the area, especially the Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale. This beer is their basic Ale, stored for six weeks in bourbon barrels, and then bottled. The beer has a great bourbon flavor without being overwhelming. It’s a nice specialty item and is a great gift idea if you want to show someone the awesomeness of this Kentucky product married to a famous Kentucky tradition.
After the brewery tour, we walked to the distillery area. A lot of their production area was very small. They had two copper stills and two cyprus mashtubs in a gorgeously constructed stone room. It would be the perfect place to host a small, upscale party. When the bourbon production is completed, they barrel the bourbon and store it in rickhouses and bottled off site.
Production of the bourbon is small and is not the main source of revenue for Lexington Brewing and Distilling Company. Nevertheless, it is a nice stop on the trail. The tour guide was very informative, was interested in all of their products and their practice use in your daily life. She talked about how she used them at her dinner parties and, since she used to work for Southern Living in food photography, I bet they are awesome affairs. I recommend Town Branch being the last stop on a day of touring the Bourbon Trail, that way you can enjoy one of the great restaurants in the Lex food scene. There are some pretty tasty places on both ends of the financial spectrum. Overall, Town Branch was classy and inviting, a nice addition to the Trail.
Other posts in the series: