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A Brandof Firsts.

Our founder, George Garvin Brown, was born September 2, 1846 in Munfordville, KY. In 1863 he moved to Louisville to attend high school, and eventually became a pharmaceutical salesman. And it was that particular line of work that led him to create the First Bottled Bourbon™, Old Forester, in 1870.

photo of office interior turn of century

History you can almost taste.

1870

Old Forester is created by George Garvin Brown and named after Dr. William Forrester.

To guarantee consistency George batches bourbon from three nearby distilleries: Mattingly, Mellwood, and Atherton. He seals his whiskey exclusively in glass bottles and signs each bottle as his personal guarantee of its quality.

Old Forester was presented at 90 proof.

FIRST BOTTLED BOURBON

Old Forester bottles in suitcase

1897

In order to comply with the legal regulations specified by the U.S. Bottled in Bond Act of 1897, Old Forester increases from 90 proof to 100 proof.

The U.S. Bottled in Bond Act of 1897 requires that bourbon come from one distillery and one distilling season, George Garvin Brown purchases the Mattingly Distillery in 1901.

Old Forester Whisky label photo

1910

A fire on the bottling line shuts down production. Old Forester, which has been dumped and is ready to bottle instead goes into a second barrel while the line is repaired. Leading Old Forester to create and sell “Very Old Fine Whisky” the first double-barreled bourbon.

FIRST DOUBLE BARRELED BOURBON

1920

Prohibition begins. Old Forester was one of only a hand-full of companies given a permit to sell and manufacture whiskey during Prohibition and the only one still in the whiskey business today.

TODAY, OLD FORESTER REMAINS THE ONLY BOURBON CONTINUALLY SOLD BY THE SAME COMPANY BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER PROHIBITION

Old Forester Prohibition image

1941

Just two weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Old Forester delivers their first high-proof industrial alcohol to help World War II efforts.

FIRST DISTILLERY TO CONVERT ENTIRE PRODUCTION TO INDUSTRIAL-GRADE ALCOHOL FOR THE WAR EFFORTS.

1951

Old Forester introduces the Holiday gift decanter to the U.S. spirits industry.

FIRST BOURBON TO CREATE A DECANTER.

1959

Old Forester introduces 86-proof to provide a lighter-bodied bourbon for the growing cocktail culture.

1962

Old Forester introduces President’s Choice, which is offered as a single barrel product if the whole barrel is purchased.

FIRST SINGLE BARREL BOURBON IN THE INDUSTRY.

2002

Old Forester celebrates the 156th birthday of founder George Garvin Brown with the first release of Old Forester Birthday Bourbon™ on his birthday, Sept 2. 2002.

FIRST VINTAGE-DATED BOURBON IN THE INDUSTRY.

2014

The Whiskey Row series launches, offering consumers a way to taste their way through our history. Four expressions complete the series, each representing a moment in Old Forester’s 150-year story: 1870 Original Batch Whisky, 1897 Bottled in Bond, 1910 Old Fine Whisky, and 1920 Style Prohibition Whisky.

2015

In Spring 2015, Campbell Brown, 5th generation Brown Family member, was named as the President and Managing Director of Old Forester following in the footsteps of his great-great-grandfather.

2018

Old Forester Distilling Co. returns home to Whisky Row and opens at 119 W. Main Street, housed in the same building that the brand called home from 1882 – 1919. Old Forester distillery is the only downtown distillery which houses an active cooperage, charring barrels in the same facility where spirits are being aged.

2019

In 1940, Owsley Brown acquired the Old Kentucky Distillery and along with it, the Normandy Rye Whiskey brand. After 40+ year absence, Old Forester proudly reintroduces the historic Rye grain recipe which features proprietary yeast, along with a mash bill of 65% Rye, 20% Malted Barley and 15% Corn, creating a unique, spicy, and floral member of the Old Forester family.

FIRST NEW GRAIN RECIPE FOR OLD FORESTER IN 150 YEARS

Old Forester Rye Whisky

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Please Sip Responsibly

Old Forester Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky, 43-57.5% Alc./Vol., Old Forester Mint Julep Cocktail, 30% Alc./Vol. Old Forester Distilling Company at Louisville in Kentucky. OLD FORESTER is a registered trademark. “AMERICA’S FIRST BOTTLED BOURBON” is a trademark. ©2019 Brown-Forman Distillers. All rights reserved. All other trademarks and trade names are properties of their respective owners.

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