Brough Brothers Distillery Joins The Kentucky Distillers’ Association

By Hannah Kanik / April 14, 2021

The Kentucky Distillers’ Association announced recently that Brough Brothers Distillery in Louisville is the latest member of the non-profit trade group that unites and leads Kentucky’s signature bourbon and distilled spirits industry.

Brough Brothers Distillery is the 42nd to join the association. It is said to be the first and only African American-owned, licensed and operating distillery in the state of Kentucky. It was founded by Victor, Bryson and Christian Yarbrough, three brothers who were born and raised in Louisville.

“It is an honor to be recognized and accepted as a KDA member,” Brough Brothers Distillery CEO Victor Yarbrough said in a prepared statement. “We thank the KDA and its members for their tremendous support as we strive to build a legacy that Kentucky will be proud of.”

Brough Brothers

The founders of Brough Brothers (image via Brough Brothers)

“The KDA congratulates Brough Brothers for their vision and perseverance in an industry that has largely remained inaccessible to minority entrepreneurs,” KDA President Eric Gregory added. “Their success as the state’s first African American-owned, licensed and operating distillery is a long-overdue step for our industry.

Jessica Pendergrass, KDA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Panel Co-Chair and General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer for Heaven Hill Brands, said the addition of Brough Brothers brings much needed perspective to the industry.

Victor and Christian serve on the KDA DEI Advisory Panel, a group of community and business leaders that steer and guide initiatives for the industry. “African-Americans have helped to build and shape our industry, and we need these resilient, entrepreneurial, and empowered voices at the table,” Pendergrass said.

“It has been inspiring getting to know the tremendous men behind Brough Brothers Bourbon. Victor and his brothers came together on this project with purpose and passion – to connect the Black community to economic opportunities in the Bourbon industry, to find ways to elevate and educate the community, and to give back to the community they know and love.

“We can all take a lesson from the intentionality behind their business.”

The KDA was founded in 1880 and is the state’s voice for Bourbon and spirits issues. Brough Brothers Distillery is the 24th craft-level member, aging less than 10,000 barrels a year. 

Last year, the KDA created the Lifting Spirits Foundation to fund scholarships at the University of Kentucky, University of Louisville and Kentucky State University’s distilling and fermentation programs for Black, LGBTQIA, women, people of color and other minority and underrepresented groups.

“We are committed to these initiatives and doing more to create long-term, permanent and historic change in our industry,” Gregory added. “We have a lot of work to do – but we can and will do more to lead our industry, and we are grateful to Brough Brothers for their leadership and support.”

Brough Brothers Bourbon is an 82-proof whiskey with a mash bill of 75% corn, 21% rye and 4% malted barley. The bottle features drawing of Kentucky’s vibrant culture: Bourbon, basketball, boxing, horse racing and Louisville’s iconic skyline.