H. E. Pogue Distillery

Historical Marker #2206 notes the location of the H. E. Pogue Distillery, which operated for more than fifty years near Maysville.

The Ohio River route into what became Kentucky was popular with settlers from Maryland, Pennsylvania, and northern Virginia. In time, the town of Limestone—which eventually became Maysville—developed on the banks of the river at Limestone Creek. From the era of those early pioneers up through the twentieth century, Maysville had an association with distilling whiskey.

The earliest distilleries in Maysville were likely small operations that produced whiskey for local consumption and a limited market. After the Civil War, distiller O. H. P. Thomas produced several brands of whiskey including "Old Time," and "Old Maysville Club." Thomas's chief distiller was Henry Edgar Pogue. In 1876, Pogue bought out Thomas and opened his own distillery at the Maysville city limits. Pogue continued to make several brands that Thomas had started and introduced more. Pogue's new operation was touted in the "Maysville Bulletin" in the summer of 1876. "The capacity is about eighteen barrels per day," the article noted, "though only about ten are made. A very important feature in the establishment, is a copper boiler invented by Mr. Pogue, and, used only by him, which affords all the advantages and none of the defects of the apparatus employed in making the best grades of Kentucky liquors."

By 1900, production was up to fifty barrels per day and Pogue was reputedly among the best distilleries in Kentucky. When Pogue died in 1890, his son Henry Pogue II took over the operation for the next thirty years until he was killed in a distillery accident. Henry Pogue III next ran the business and even survived several years of Prohibition—distilling for medicinal purposes—but ended production in 1926. In 1934, the Pogue Distillery resumed production until it was forced to close yet again due to competition in a new era of distilleries and mass production. After World War II, manufacture again ceased at the Pogue Distillery. In 1973, the distillery was razed.

Today, Pogue descendants have rejoined the distillery business. The company now produces bourbon and rye whiskey in Maysville, on the site of the company’s first location.

Images

Old Pogue

Old Pogue

In 2004, Pogue descendants started producing bourbon again on a limited basis. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Maysville

Maysville

Maysville's location on the Ohio River and its subsequent convenience for commercial trade was attractive for Pogue's distillery. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Maysville

Maysville

This late 19th century photograph shows the west side of Maysville. The smokestack and buildings shown in the image may possibly be Pogue's distillery. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Illegal Distilleries

Illegal Distilleries

While many individual (moonshiners) and private operations were put out of business during Prohibition, a number of Kentucky distilleries, including Pogue's, were allowed to produce for medicinal purposes. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Tim Talbott, “H. E. Pogue Distillery,” ExploreKYHistory, accessed May 26, 2017, http://explorekyhistory.ky.gov/items/show/421.
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