Our Stories



1778

Louisville, KY., founded by George Rogers Clark.

1778
1850s

Whiskey Row developed on Main Street, the center of Louisville’s whiskey economy through the early 20th century.

1850s
1870

Old Forester bourbon introduced by George Garvin Brown on Whiskey Row at 322 W. Main St. America’s First Bottled Bourbon® was the first bourbon to be sold in sealed glass bottles to ensure quality, made according to Brown’s 1870 Original Batch process of batching barrels from three distilleries to create a consistent flavor profile. The firm was named J.T.S. Brown and Bro.

1870
1875

First running of the Kentucky Derby®.

1875
1897

Bottled in Bond Old Forester was presented at 100 proof in sealed bottles to comply with the legal regulations specified by the U.S. Bottled in Bond Act of 1897.

1897
1910

Old Forester Old Fine Whisky robust small batch created on Whiskey Row.

1910
1920

Prohibition begins. Many distilleries are closed, but the company, now named Brown-Forman, applies for and receives a federal license to continue producing Old Forester for medicinal purposes.

1920
1924

Old Forester operation moves from Whiskey Row to 18th and Howard streets in Louisville.

1924
1933

Prohibition is repealed. Old Forester production is increased. Today, Old Forester is the only bourbon continually distilled and marketed by the founding family before, during and after Prohibition.

1933
1935

The Old Forester barrel entry proof is established at 125 proof to comply with new post-Prohibition federal standards for distilled spirits.

1935
1941

An Old Forester plant begins producing industrial alcohol to help World War II efforts.

1941
1946

Bluegrass Cooperage, which today is known as the Brown-Forman Cooperage, is purchased to make Old Forester whisky barrels; today it’s the only cooperage owned by a major distiller.

1946
1970

Old Forester celebrates its 100th anniversary.

1970
2002

Old Forester celebrates the 156th birthday of founder George Garvin Brown with a limited-edition Old Forester Birthday Bourbon™ on his birthday, Sept 2.

2002
2003

Old Forester Birthday Bourbon receives the title of American Whisky of the Year at WhiskyFest New York.

2003
2014

Old Forester thrives in America’s second bourbon boom, with sales increasing by double digits

2014
2015

Old Forester Mint Julep is named Official Drink of the Kentucky Derby®.

2017

Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style awarded a Double Gold Medal at San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

2017