The coronavirus pandemic not only disproportionally affected Black-owned businesses, but it has also delayed the opening of many companies led by Black people.
In the midst of all the uncertainties in the business world, particularly over concerns whether existing and new businesses could make a profit, three Kentucky brothers have defied all odds in a pandemic era to roll out their own distillery.
Known as Brough Brothers Distillery, it is the first and only Black-owned distillery in the state of Kentucky. It was founded by brothers Victor, Bryson, and Christian Yarbrough who were born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky.
Their ambition was fueled by their desire to operate a Black-led distillery in a sector that has been widely dominated by Whites. Their distillery will provide job opportunities and economic growth for the community of Park Hill, a historically underserved area of Louisville’s West End, according to a press release announcing the commencement of operation of Brough Brothers Distillery.
“Brough Brothers has an opportunity to not only provide employment opportunities for our local community but also design an experience for locals and tourists in the heart of one of Kentucky’s cultural hubs,” Brough Brothers CEO Victor Yarbrough said. “At a time in history when there is much attention on Louisville, we are excited to represent positive change and hope for and on behalf of our city.”
Currently, Chris and Bryson serve as the company’s chief marketing officer and chief operating officer, respectively.
The Federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau first approved Brough Brothers Distillery in August 2018 and was recognized by Kentucky’s Senate as the state’s first African American-owned distillery in August 2020. It was subsequently approved by the Kentucky Alcoholic Beverage Control Board in September.
Meanwhile, its bourbon shop will be open for business to bourbon enthusiasts by appointment only in spring 2021. So far, customers have praised the product for being one of the smoothest on the market.
“I hope people are able to come to the West End and see a rose in the concrete, and are able to see there’s beauty there, there’s people willing to improve the community there, and we would like to see other businesses come in, as well as tourists and other supporters, to not just support our business, but surrounding businesses in the area,” CEO Yarbrough said in an interview.
Brough Brothers currently has major distribution partnerships in five states, including KY, FL, TN, IN, and CO. It will expand its distribution to another 20 states in early 2021, the release said.