Town Branch Distillery – Lexington, Kentucky
Town Branch is in the heart of Lexington and you have one of those, “Oh, we’re here!” moments when you arrive. Located just a few blocks from the University of Kentucky’s campus, Town Branch is in a unique spot on the trail. I went here after visiting Four Roses, and I would recommend that you make Town Branch and Lexington a day trip in their own right. If you can find a way to get to Lexington when the horses are running at Keeneland- well, you can thank me later.
Alltech, an animal feed company (which will begin to make sense here in a minute) owns Town Branch Bourbon. Additionally, Alltech also owns Kentucky Ale. Both the brewery and the distillery are on premise and you get a tour of both of them. This was great because I’ve dabbled in home-brewing myself. The justification for Alltech owning both is that it allows them to use the spent grains that are a byproduct of both the brewing process and the distilling process. Genius, right?
The tour starts in the gift shop, which is actually pretty interesting and full of reasonably priced merchandise. You watch a video featuring Dr. Pearce Lyons, who is unabashedly awesome. He started Kentucky Ale as a side-project and eventually spawned it into Town Branch as well. The gift shop reflects his heritage with Irish Pub-style storefronts that have some of Dr. Lyons’ family names.
After the video, you tour the Brewery. If you are into beer (especially home brewing) you will get a kick out of seeing a massive beer operation. It is great to see that the same principles used in home brewing that Alltech brings to life on a larger scale to crank out ~40,000 bottles of beer per day.
Once you wrap up in the brewery, you head over to the distillery. You start in their bottling facility where they have a couple of barrels on racks. Then you move into the still room which also has the fermenters. Town Branch is a very, very small operation. Town Branch is different from Jim Beam or even Maker’s Mark on the scale of the operation. Then you wind up in the tasting room, which brings us to our next segment.
The tasting featured Pearce Lyons Malt Whiskey, Town Branch, and Bluegrass Sundown. It amazes me that other kinds of whiskey has such a different flavor than bourbon. Pearce Lyons definitely had a malty flavor and lacked the sweetness that you get with bourbon. Town Branch was a decent bourbon, but nothing to write home about. And factor in the price for a bottle of Town Branch (~$25 in Ky.), you can really see that age and price are directly related. I’m not sure exactly how long Town Branch ages, and it is not in the 10+ year range. It does have a sweet looking bottle, especially if you want a vintage looking liquor cabinet. You are also able to taste a Bluegrass Sundown which is a dark roasted coffee infused with Kentucky Bourbon and sugar. It is a nice change of pace if there are any non-bourbon drinkers on the Bourbon Trail with you.
1. The Brewery
2. The Irish Pub-style Gift Shop
3. The Similarities of Brewing and Distilling
4. The Pearce Lyons Video
5. The Ceramic Glass Horse
Monday – Saturday: 10am – 4pm
Sunday: 12pm – 4pm
Alltech’s Lexington Brewing and Distilling Company
401 Cross Street
Lexington, KY 40508
Below is the Town Branch Flickr Set if you’re a more visual person!