Friday, November 14, 2014

Town Branch distillery

Town Branch Distillery is relatively new, starting about six years ago just west of downtown Lexington, Kentucky.  The founder is Pearce Lyons, an Irishmen with a masters degree in yeast and a Phd in biochemistry.  About three decades ago, he was brought to Kentucky to look into a yeast crisis, he liked the area and stayed.  He formed a company called Altech to culture and grow yeast for the distilling industry.  From that he developed a line of livestock nutrition products. About 20 years ago he was developing yeast for beer brewing and bought the Lexington Brewing company, so he could brew large batches of beer legally to test the yeast.  The beer proved popular and Lexington Brewing produces a high quality line of specialty beers, if you get a chance try the Bourbon Barrel Stout. Through the fermentation process distilling and brewing are essentially the same process.  The natural progressing was to open a distillery. 

Town Branch uses two huge copper Scottish pot stills and cypress fermentation tanks. The still room is in a spectacular stone and glass room on a small hill. They distill, barrel and bottle in Lexington, the aging is done in Bardstown. Lexington limits the number of barrels they can have onsite in Lexington for fire reasons.  The last fire in a Kentucky barrel warehouse was at Wild Turkey and took two weeks to burn itself out. The last fire in Bardstown ended with a river of flaming bourbon running down hill to the Kentucky River. 

They make a fine single malt.  Single malt is made with malted barley, yeast and water.  All scotch whiskey is malt whiskey, but malt whiskey can only be called scotch if it is made in Scotland.  Pearce Lyons Reserve is a fine American malt whiskey.  Wonderful malt whiskeys are made all over the world, I have excellent examples from Scotland, the US, France and Japan.  Town Branch is named after a stream that use to run through downtown Lexington, Kentucky, it now runs under downtown Lexington.  It was buried about 100 years ago.  Town Branch also makes a good blended Bourbon and a coffee liqueur. 

The Tour costs $7, and covers both the brewery and the distillery. It includes up to four samples of the products, I tried two beers, the single malt and the coffee liqueur.  


  1. Where is this?
    It looks familiar

  2. John, way I do it the pictures go up 10-15 minutes before the text.

  3. On my next Bourbon/whiskey tour, I am THERE!!!

    Peace <3