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
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 sometime before 1773 by Hancock 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 true 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.
The Production at Buffalo Trace is estimated at about 10 million liters of whiskey per year. This is carried out at a beer still with a capacity of 60,000 gallons (230,000 liter).
Buffalo Trace bourbon whiskey
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.