Fresh Bourbon, a new bourbon company, is set to break ground on a bourbon distillery in Lexington early 2021. The company has been recognized by the state as the first African-Americans who were not enslaved to develop bourbon in Kentucky, and it will employ Kentucky’s first Black Master Distiller.

Fresh Bourbon’s big launch was supposed to be in summer 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic delayed construction. The huge 34,000-square-foot distillery is being planned for downtown Lexington, and the space will include a music hall, tasting room and lounge.

While the distillery has yet to be built, Fresh Bourbon founders Sean and Tia Edwards, a husband-and-wife team who are Kentucky natives, have been working with their Master Distiller to produce limited-edition first-run batches and are currently selling the bottles online. The bottles are produced by Hartfield & Co. in Paris, Kentucky. The company is taking pre-orders for shipments in late 2020 or early 2021.

The company has already been commended for its achievements: Fresh Bourbon took home the gold medal from the MicroLiquor Spirit Awards in August. The distillery says its bourbon is “gently sweet and approachable,” with tasting flavors of vanilla, brown sugar, oak smoke and nuttiness. The company hopes to welcome all drinkers to the world of bourbon, and Fresh Bourbon also has plans to produce other types of whiskeys as well as gin in the future.

Bourbon is big business in Kentucky: the state has more barrels of bourbon than it does people, and it produces more than 95% of the world’s bourbon supply.  Kentucky even has its own official Bourbon Trail that loops through the state and includes stops at the big names, such as Wild Turkey and Jim Beam as well as up-and-coming microdistillers.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this article stated the Fresh Bourbon Company distillery was set to open next year, it is now expected to open in 2022. The article also stated it is the first Black-owned distillery in Kentucky. It has in fact received state designation to be considered the first Black-owned bourbon distillery in Kentucky.

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