Even Royalty Knew of Lawrenceburg and Cedar Brook

Cedar Brook Distillery

Traveling east towards the Kentucky River stands a road that used to lead to Kentucky’s and even the world’s most cherished bourbon distillery.  Located between Tyrone and Lawrenceburg on Cedar Brook Road, Cedar Brook Distillery was perhaps the most well known bourbon ever produced in Kentucky.

The area between Tyrone and Lawrenceburg was and still is thickly forested.  Back in the first half of the 19th century, Anderson County native and son born to a pioneer family, William Harrison McBrayer began looking for a location to start a new distillery.  He bought the land near Cedar Brook in 1844 and began constructing a small distillery.

Soon enough, the little distillery got larger as William added more buildings.  Three iron clad warehouses were added to hold the liquor and a new still house was built.  The mash house alone was thought to be one of the most expensive buildings ever built in the entire country at the time, being constructed from stone harvested from the Kentucky River cliffs.

With an incredibly well built distillery, William concentrated on making the finest bourbon in the state.  The Cedar Brook brand started making its way across the nation.  It would soon win awards including a gold medal at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876.

Although William would pass away in 1888, the subsequent owners kept the quality of the bourbon the best in the nation.  The Cedar Brook brand along with the Lawrenceburg label went international and even the royalty of Europe took notice.  It was accounted that Cedar Brook made the crowned heads of Europe turn from Scotch to bourbon.

But, like almost all of the distilleries in the county, Cedar Brook didn’t survive Prohibition.  However, true to its high quality nature, when the distillery was being dismantled in 1922, demolition workers discovered a time capsule built into the corner stone of the plant.  It contained a number of coins, old newspapers, and two pint bottles, which were suppose to contain very rare and high quality bourbon but were empty probably from age.

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