(Note: The following post was originally published in Oct. 2016 and updated in Oct. 2017)
During some recent renovation at the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, KY a discovery was made of huge historical significance. What the workers unearthed were the foundations of an old bourbon distillery, O.F.C. Distillery, dating back to the 1800s. The site has been nicknamed “bourbon pompeii.”
It began earlier this year in April when they found brick pillars and remnants of walls, and then in June what they believed to be a cistern. More digging revealed parts of the first floor and a row of brick structures. Louisville historian Carolyn Brooks and bourbon archaeologist Nicolas Laracuente have joined in the efforts to fully grasp what the discovery entails.
What they found were almost completely intact 11,000-gallon fermenting tanks built by the legendary Col. E.H. Taylor as a version of his O.F.C. Distillery. According to Laracuente, this find is “very rare”, mainly due to the fact that most distilleries are destroyed by fire. In 1873, Taylor rebuilt his first O.F.C Distillery on the same site, Laracuente believes that it was this rush to rebuild and the fact that he built on top of the existing structure as the likely reason for the preservation we’re seeing today.
Tours are now available. For an exclusive experience, book a ticket for Bourbon Rocks & Ruins.