O.F.C.- Stagg Distillery

Historical Marker #2428 commemorates the history of the O.F.C.-Stagg Distillery in Franklin County.

Perhaps the most remarkable man to enter the whiskey industry during the post-Civil War years was Colonel Edmund Haynes Taylor, Jr. Born in Columbia, Kentucky in 1832, he was a grand nephew of Gen. Zachary Taylor. Col. Taylor was a man of education and cultivation and also had the Taylor grit and determination. He established the O.F.C. (Old Fire Copper) Distillery in 1869-1870.

Taylor was different than most of the distillers of the time, whose tradition of distilling was a simple manufacturing operation. He had the instincts of a merchandiser. He placed emphasis upon "pure goods" and made his Old Taylor, Hermitage, O.F.C., and Carlisle brands a standard of bourbon quality.

Colonel Taylor, who lived to be ninety years old, was a bridge between the old ways and the new. He had known Dr. James C. Crow, Oscar Pepper, and W. F. Bond. He was one of the earliest distillers to grasp the concept of marketing and was very skilled at promoting his products and creating brand recognition.

The O.F.C. Distillery was purchased by George Stagg in 1878, and, in 1904, renamed the George T. Stagg Distillery. In 1886, Stagg installed steam heating in the storage warehouses, the first climate controlled warehouse for aging whiskey in the nation. Albert Blanton became president in 1921.

During Prohibition, this was one of the few distilleries in the nation to be issued a federal permit to bottle medicinal whiskey, and, after 1930, to produce more. It continued to do so until the repeal of the Prohibition in 1933. The distillery was greatly expanded and modernized after it was bought by Schenley in the 1930s.

It was sold a final time in 1992 and was renamed Buffalo Trace Distillery, because it was said to be built on an ancient Buffalo crossing on the banks of the Kentucky River. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 2013. It claims to be the oldest continuously operating distillery in the United States.

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