Bourbon Names

The bourbon names that make history

One of the things that makes bourbon fun – and there are many – is the history. It makes for great stories. There is room for debate about how did what and how in the early history of distilled spirits from corn. And that’s OK.

Here are some of the names to know in the history of bourbon.

More are being added every day.

Elijah Craig

Rev. Elijah Craig

Some history credits this Baptist preacher with the creation of bourbon. Around 1789 he opened a distillery. He lived in the area of present day Scott County, Kentucky. He laid out the town that is now Georgetown.

He may have been the first to age distilled spirits in aged oak barrels. Today is name appears on two Jim Beam products: a small-batch 12-year-old bourbon and a single-barrel 18-year-old bourbon.



Evan Williams

He may have been the first distiller, or at least the first commercial distiller in Kentucky. He started his operation in 1783. It was located in Louisville the east side of what would be 5th Street. Louisville was officially established in 1778. He was one of the first seven trustees elected for Louisville in the late 1790s. Louisville was , established in 1778.


George Stagg

George T. Stagg was born 1835 in in Central Kentucky in Garrard County. He worked as a whiskey salesman in St Louis. He worked for E. H. Taylor who had bought and renamed the O.F.C distillery. When the distillery burned, Stagg bought it, rebuilt it and naming it the E H Taylor Jr Co. It was one of the dominant distilleries in the U.s. His name is now associated with the Buffalo Trace family of products.

He died in 1890.

Benjamin Harrison Blanton and Col. Albert Bacon Blanton

Albert Blanton

Albert Blanton started working in the distillery business at 16.

You know the names. Benjamin Harrison Blanton, born in 1829, opened a distillery near the site of Buffalo Trace distillery. His family also sold some land for expansion of the George Stagg/E.H. Taylor consortium.

Albert Blanton was the son of Benjamin Harrison Blanton, born 1881. At 16, Albert Blanton began working at the E. H. Taylor distillery. He worked his way up quickly, becoming the president of the whiskey plant in 1921.

Basil Hayden

Basil Hayden settled in Nelson County, Kentucky. His likness here is featured on the Old Grand-Dad bourbon bottle.

Basil Hayden was among a group of Catholics from Maryland that came to Kentucky in the late 1700s to settle in the area that is now Nelson County, Kentucky. The Catholic started there was the first west of the Allegheny Mountains. Hayden was also a distiller.

Raymond B. Hayden, a grandson, was also a distiller whose Old Grand-Dad product was named after Basil Hayden.

Basil Hayden’s along with Old Grand-Dad are part of the Jim Beam family of products.

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