Kentucky Distillers’ Association Recently Welcomed Its 41st Member Distillery

By Hannah Kanik / December 31, 2020

The Bard Distillery in Muhlenberg County recently became the newest addition to the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, making it the 41st member of the non-profit trade group that unites and leads Kentucky’s signature bourbon and spirits industry.

The Bard opened last year in the locally historic Graham School under Tom and Kim Bard’s leadership. The past three generations of Tom’s family attended the school and he and Kim had the vision to restore the property. Tom Bard was a mechanical engineer and learned to distill after a decade of studying and networking. The Bard Distillery includes a visitor center, gift shop and distillery, and the Bards say they hope to expand soon.

Tom and Kim Bard

Tom and Kim Bard of The Bard Distillery (image via KDA)

“We couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the KDA,” Tom Bard said in a prepared statement. “Kim and I have dedicated years of our lives to our distillery, and to finally be open, operating, and how a recognized member of Kentucky’s growing group of distillers, it’s an honor and a dream come true.”

The distillery offers Cinder & Smoke, a 13-year-old straight bourbon whiskey, and Silver Muhl White Whiskey. The Bard also contributed to the hand sanitizer production efforts over the summer to help during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

KDA President Eric Gregory said the Bards demonstrated a true commitment to the heritage of Kentucky’s signature distilling industry and to the preservation of a local landmark. “We are thrilled to welcome the Bards into our growing family of Kentucky’s finest distillers,” Gregory said. “We look forward to their leadership, supporting their success and working together to responsibly grow and sustain Kentucky’s iconic Bourbon and distilled spirits industry.”

The Bard ages less than 10,000 barrels a year and joins as a Craft-level member with the KDA. Other craft distilleries, such as MB Roland and Casey Jones in Christian County and Dueling Grounds in Simpson County, are in this category. Also of note is the fact Tom Bard’s 4th great-grandfather was William Bard, one of two brothers who founded the city of Bardstown.

“Having another family-owned distillery anchoring the western corridor of Kentucky’s flourishing Bourbon industry is a real success story for small business and our industry,” Gregory added. “We thank the Bards for their dedication and hard work to strengthen Kentucky’s place as the one true home for Bourbon.”