A Covid 19 Bourbon Story


Whatever happened to Brough Brother’s Bourbon?

It was Victor Yarbrough’s idea: to do something that would increase economic opportunities in the predominantly Black neighborhoods of west Louisville. So he got with his brothers, Chris and Bryson, and the three started the first Black-owned bourbon company in Louisville — Brough Brothers Bourbon.

The company, currently distributed through Amazon to the United Kingdom, expected to officially launch in Louisville in February, according to Louisville Business First. But we all know what happened then – Covid 19 took over our lives, our consciousness, our conversations and our interests. We all retreated to our homes determined to wait it out.

But what happened to the Brough Brothers?

I for one, was totally bought in! I fully intended to run these guys down and get their story as well as try to partner with them. The vision! The product! The audacity! What else do you want? But then – Covid 19.

The Yarbrough brothers grew up in the city’s West End before moving to St. Matthews, Ky. Victor said he’s also lived in London where he began a spirts import and export business called Victory Global.


Victor Yarborough said “We are working toward basically opening up the bourbon market and using our brand and understanding of Louisville and Kentucky to showcase the talents here. We understand what the economic impact would be if we were to open in the West End. Our goal, to a certain degree, is to act as a hub to help build upon the neighborhood.”

The brothers intended to open as a micro-distillery in March out of a commercial space. In addition to bourbon, the brothers would also distill English gin and vodka.

From Louisville Business First:

While Victor Yarbrough said he and his brothers are humbled to open the first Black-owned bourbon company in Louisville, he said he also wishes others would have preceded them.

“We love to be the first because we can create and build upon history. But at the same time, we wish there were more African Americans in the actual realm a little bit earlier,” Yarbrough said to Louisville Business First. “We’ll have a pretty specific story and we’re going to hold ourselves to a high standard and continue to expand and bring some historical context and authenticity and great products to people.”

The brothers say they hope to hire four people at the distillery once it’s up and running.

Perfect timing! An historic economy. Great time to start a new business with Bourbon trending all over the world! But WHAT HAPPENED TO BROUGH BROTHERS BOURBON? 

The fact is – I don’t know. 

Prudence would dictate that I investigate and find out, THEN report. But it strikes me that this unforseen blockade to “the best laid plans” is a story in itself that these young black men anticipated, even if in the back of their minds, in their “ancestral memory” if you will allow me to coin a phrase.

Anyway – I’ll find out and report to you. After all – it’s about men, and it’s about Louisville.

Stand by…