If you’re looking for a place to start (or end) your journey on The B-Line®, the Old Pogue Distillery is an excellent choice. Nestled along the southern bluff of the Ohio River Valley, Old Pogue is about a one-hour road trip from Newport, Kentucky. One of the oldest distilleries in the country, Old Pogue’s history traces through six generations of bourbon-making tradition!
Peter H. Pogue, current president of the Old Pogue Distillery, says his family is blessed to have reacquired their homestead – which dates back to 1845 – in Maysville, Kentucky and to have John A. Pogue as their sixth-generation distiller. Authenticity is integral to everything Old Pogue touches; they even follow the original recipes handwritten in 1907.
According to the Old Pogue’s website, in 1876, Henry Edgar Pogue purchased a distillery along the Ohio River from O.H.P Thomas. The same year, Kentucky registered the business as Distillery No.3. Henry died in 1890 due to a work-related accident at the distillery, and his son, H.E. Pogue II, took the reins. Later, under H.E. Pogue III, the distillery closed operations on Aug. 10, 1926, due to Prohibition, despite having legally distributed small amounts of whiskey for medicinal purposes through Cincinnati’s famed bootlegger George Remus.
Descendants of the H.E. Pogues (I-V) revived the brand name in 2005 and opened their distillery in 2012, where they carry on their family’s legacy of creating high-quality and small-batch bourbon and rye spirits using the same recipes and methods as their ancestors.
“When our guests visit Old Pogue, they experience what a true historical Kentucky distillery it was and is today,” says Peter. “From the moment you arrive and traverse the hand-laid rock bridge, rebuilt by Kentucky stone masons, to touring one of Kentucky’s oldest Greek Revival homes with sweeping views of the Ohio River, visitors will feel that they have stepped back in time to the pre-prohibition days when Kentucky was built on honest, hard work.”
If you want to visit the distillery, reserve your tour in advance at oldpogue.com. Tours last between 40 minutes to one hour and include a walk through the distillery’s operations, the historic Pogue family home, the bourbon museum, and gift shop. Include the number of people in your party when placing the reservation. Tours and tastings are free, a gesture Peter says is to show their appreciation to guests for making the effort to visit Old Pogue, a tried, true and storied piece of Kentucky history.
Old Pogue’s grounds are just a short drive from Maysville: a charming town on the banks of the Ohio river, known as “The Birthplace of Bourbon.” Maysville’s bourbon roots run deep—going back to before Kentucky was granted statehood in 1792. After the Revolutionary War, people settled in an area known as “Limestone Landing,” which would eventually become Maysville; the whiskey that came through the town was known as Old Bourbon County Whisky.
Peter notes that visitors can revel in Old Pogue’s history both on-site at the distillery and through the Old Pogue Experience at Maysville’s Kentucky Gateway Museum Center, which features original artifacts, recipes and pre-prohibition memorabilia. The experience gives visitors a look into Old Pogue’s history without having to ascend the distillery’s grounds, which are on a very steep hillside. (For this reason, Old Pogue does not allow tour buses, which is why the Old Pogue Experience was created.) You can get your B-Line Line Guide stamped at the distillery or at the Old Pogue Experience.
The Kentucky Gateway Museum Center’s take on Old Pogue doesn’t leave out taste buds: Visitors 21 and over can enjoy a tasting of both Old Pogue Master’s Select Bourbon and Old Maysville Club for $5 each at a limit of two per person.
While you’re there, you can get a glimpse at other pieces of Kentucky history; the museum has rotating exhibitions, dioramas, the Kathleen Savage Browning Miniatures Collection, a research library and more.
Old Pogue’s offerings include the company’s flagship product, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky, and their bottled-in-bond Old Maysville Club—a Kentucky Straight rye malt whisky. The former’s final product is modeled after a bottle that has been in the family for over a century.
Make Old Pogue Distillery your next stop on The B-Line® and you may leave feeling like family. Peter says members of the Pogue family often participate in the tours and tastings. Cheers to tradition!