The Woodford Reserve Distillery, formerly known as the Old Oscar Pepper Distillery and later the Labrot & Graham Distillery, is approximately eight miles from the town of Versailles in north-central Kentucky, off U.S. Route 60 between Interstate 64 and Versailles.
Distilling on the site began in 1780, with today’s distillery building erected in 1838. Although the site has not been continuously operational as a distillery since, the structure stands as the oldest of the nine bourbon distilleries in operation in Kentucky as of 2010. In 1995 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and in 2000 was designated a National Historic Landmark.
Originally established by Elijah Pepper, the distillery was passed on to his son and known as the Oscar Pepper Distillery when Dr. James Crow worked there in the mid-19th century. During this time Dr. Crow undertook a series of activities that improved and codified the understanding and quality of key bourbon-making processes such as sour-mash fermentation, pot still distillation and barrel maturation. The Pepper family sold the property to Leopold Labrot and James Graham in 1878, who owned and operated it (except during Prohibition) until it was sold to the Brown-Forman Corporation in 1941. Brown-Forman operated it until 1968, then sold the then-mothballed property in 1971. Brown-Forman re-purchased the property in 1993, refurbished it, and brought it back into operation. The Woodford Reserve brand was introduced to the market in 1996.
The company expanded its product line with Woodford Reserve Double Oaked Bourbon in February 2012. The “Masters Collection”, a series of limited bottlings produced using the older pot still method, followed. Woodford Reserve Rye Whisky, an American style rye, was introduced in 2015.