Often, I’ve traveled without gaining a true appreciation for the impact a city can have on its surrounding community and the world. Recently, the SeyferthPR team and I visited Frankfort, capital of Kentucky, for a client meeting. Downtown Frankfort looked like a film scene, a quaint town with historic architecture nestled amongst timbered hills. Long-standing liquor-making traditions in the state have shaped the area’s economy and culture and we had the opportunity to tour the oldest continuously-operating distillery in America, Buffalo Trace Distillery.

Named after buffalo migration paths along the Kentucky River, these carved migration routes led pioneers to the river bank, where Buffalo Trace has been making bourbon since the late 1700s. With a deep-rooted history, this distillery has been designated a National Historic Landmark and attracts nearly 400,000 guests annually. Founder E.H. Taylor Jr. revolutionized the bourbon industry and his original manufacturing equipment and buildings from the early 1800s are still on display.

Our enjoyable Frankfort experience began with a distillery tour, where engaging guides shared local history and scientific distilling facts as we roamed the facilities. The atmosphere was surreal as we passed endless barrels with the strong aroma of bourbon filling the room. An original building from 1869 still stands, placed strategically on the Kentucky River. Here, E.H. Taylor Jr. experimented with flavors that eventually became the bourbon we know and love today. With years of fluctuating water levels from floods, much of the building and fermenting vats were submerged. The discovery of these distilling artifacts allowed this historic site to be saved from repurposing plans.

Our tour continued north along the river, a major transportation route for goods, trade and bourbon.  We ended our 75-minute stroll of the sprawling property with a sampling of Buffalo Trace’s world-class bourbon. The company’s hard work and dedication to spirit making were evident from the first taste of the fine and complex amber bourbon in our glasses.

For me, the visit to Frankfort was eye-opening, offering insight into a Southern culture I wasn’t familiar with, and I can say the Bluegrass state has earned its bragging rights as home to some of the world’s finest spirits. I highly recommend this tour as a fun way to appreciate the impact Frankfort and its distilling traditions have had on the Kentucky economy, United States and the world. This newfound knowledge of the Bluegrass state will help us better serve our Kentucky clients and appreciate our next bourbon.

Calvin Nguyen
Multicultural Coordinator