James Pepper Distillery Gets Historic License, Set To Open In Fall


The James Pepper Distilling Co., bottler of the James E. Pepper ‘1776’ whiskey brand, is pleased to announce that it has received and revived its Federal distillery permit for the historic distillery currently being rebuilt in Lexington, Kentucky: DSP-KY-5, the 5th Distilled Spirits Plant license ever issued in the state of Kentucky. Nowadays, newly assigned DSP numbers are sequenced in the 20,000s.

The project is on schedule to begin production by October, and will also utilize the historic limestone well at the distillery 200 feet below ground. Corn, Rye and Barley have been grown in partnership with local farmers and will be harvested in time for the opening of production in the Fall.

The project will feature a custom copper column still from Vendome Copper in Louisville. Its design will be inspired by the historic mechanical drawings from the old distillery, and the historic Pepper still made by Vendome in 1934, the year Prohibition was repealed in Kentucky. The distillery will have an initial annual production of over 42,000 proof gallons, with the ability to produce up to 260,000 proof gallons in the future. Once completed the distillery will feature a museum showcasing the life of the original founder, Colonel James E. Pepper.

Originally built in 1869, the historic distillery ceased production in 1958 and was abandoned for over 50 years. Since then the blighted property and surrounding area have undergone a revitalization as part of a community redevelopment and collaboration among independent local entrepreneurs. The now thriving Pepper Distillery District is a 25-acre entertainment district in downtown Lexington, KY, all on the grounds of the historic James E. Pepper Distillery, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A vibrant and thriving destination, visitors can enjoy working distilleries, a brewery, restaurants, bars, gourmet ice cream, coffee, and more.

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