Labrot and Graham Distillery

Historical markers #1986 and #1987 note the location and significance of the Labrot and Graham Distillery in Versailles, Kentucky.

The Labrot and Graham distillery holds the distinction of being one of the oldest working distilleries in Kentucky. Labrot and Graham Distillery was established on the banks of the Grassy Spring Branch of Glenn's Creek by Elijah Pepper around 1812.

Pepper came to Kentucky with his wife and brother-in law. Once in the state, he built the distillery and began manufacturing whiskey. His son, Oscar Pepper, continued the family's distilling business after his father's death. The business then became known under the name, the Oscar Pepper Distillery.

Pepper enlisted the help of Dr. James Crow to improve their product in 1820. Crow was born in Scotland. He moved to the United States and eventually made his way to Kentucky in the early nineteenth century. Crow brought innovations to the production of corn whiskey by bringing scientific methods to the industry. These new production techniques helped make a higher quality whiskey more consistently. Crow worked for the Pepper Distillery for about thirty years.

In 1878, James Graham from Frankfort and a French wine merchant named Leopold Labrot bought the distillery site. At this time, the distillery changed its name to Labrot and Graham Distillery. The business continued to operate into the twentieth century, except during Prohibition.

Ownership changed hands several times until the Brown-Forman Company bought the dilapidated distillery in 1994. The company decided to restore the location to its former glory. The site reopened in 1996 and began selling Woodford Reserve bourbon. The business currently provides tours of the distillery and the location is part of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.