James E. Pepper Distilling Co.

The Pepper family’s Kentucky bourbon legacy extends to distilleries across the region. Lexington’s James E. Pepper Distillery reopened in 2018 after more than 50 years dormant. The rebuilt and restored distilling space now makes a line of whiskeys that pay tribute to the original James E. Pepper and 1776 brands.

Learn the history of the old bourbons, the Pepper family’s story with ties to horse racing and infamous cocktails, and how the American Revolution plays an important part in the brand.

The Distillery Tour

Located in Lexington’s Distillery District, your tour of the James E. Pepper Distillery starts in the museum-like archive room with classic advertisements, photos of the Pepper family and newspaper clippings of the original bourbon brand. Learn about the grains that go into 1776 bourbon and other housemade spirits, peak into a vat of bubbling mash, and then head to the still room. 

Every tour includes live distillation and a chance to taste new-make whiskey straight off the copper pot still. This interactive sensory experience is a highlight of the distillery tour and a rare opportunity in Bourbon Country.

The Bourbon Tastings

On top of your white whiskey sample, you’ll also have a formal tasting on the tour. An intimate tasting experience includes a variety of James E. Pepper, Old Pepper and 1776 bourbon and rye whiskeys. Plus, enjoy a bourbon ball as a sweet pairing with your whiskey. Tour guests get a complimentary whiskey glass as a souvenir.

Things to know about James E. Pepper Distilling

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is James E. Pepper made?

James E. Pepper is currently made at 1228 Manchester St. in Lexington, Ky. Some whiskeys sold at James E. Pepper were crafted offsite before the distillery opened.

Who owns James E. Pepper?

James E. Pepper is independently owned by entrepreneur Amir Peay.

What bourbons and whiskeys does James E. Pepper produce?

James E. Pepper 1776 rye and bourbon, Old Pepper rye and Old Henry Clay whiskey are created by James E. Pepper.

Is James E. Pepper on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail?

James E. Pepper is a member of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour®.

Which distilleries are near James E. Pepper?

Barrel House is next door to the Pepper distillery. The Lexington Distillery District is a popular destination. You’ll find craft cocktails, a microbrewery, hand-tossed pizza, ice cream and more there. Other Lexington distilleries include Bluegrass Distillers and Town Branch.

Where can I find out more about James E. Pepper?

Learn about James E. Pepper at jamesepepper.com.

Start Planning Your Kentucky Bourbon Distillery Tour

Let’s start planning your ultimate Kentucky bourbon distillery tour today! We offer a variety of public tours as well as custom-made experiences that are tailored to your every bourbon desire.

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