In a state with a long and celebrated bourbon legacy, Brough Brothers Distillery is Kentucky’s first Black-owned distillery, launching in 2019. Yet that historic and important distinction is just one of many noteworthy attributes of this new bourbon brand led by Kentucky-born brothers Victor, Bryson, and Christian Yarbrough. We spoke with Victor Yarbrough about his family’s Kentucky roots, how they honor the state’s bourbon history, and the importance of representation in the industry.
You and your brothers were born and bred in Louisville’s West End, then traveled the world learning about the ins and outs of the spirits industry. What led you back to Kentucky?
Brough Brothers started as an export company, Victory Global, that begin exporting bourbon, moonshine, and craft beer to the United Kingdom in 2012. Having success with [spirits] and being from Kentucky, where the bourbon market was exploding, it made sense to begin the next phase of the company [here] and start our own bourbon brand.
Kentucky is a place with a proud bourbon history, with many of its distilleries passed down through the generations. How does Brough Brothers fit with this tradition, and what are your hopes for the future?
Bourbon is certainly a legacy industry; our goal is to leave a thriving business to future generations.
Representation is so important, especially in the bourbon industry. Can you speak to this?
Representation provides awareness to other opportunities beyond the status quo. It gives hope and provides confidence to those who didn’t believe it was possible to succeed beyond that. We’ve opened the door and are paving the way for other African Americans entering the bourbon industry.
What’s your favorite spirit from Brough Brothers?
Easy: Our bourbon! We currently only have one type of bourbon, but we just released Brough Brothers Overproof Rum.