UK collecting bourbon oral histories

jpatton1@herald-leader.comSeptember 17, 2013 

A row of bourbon bottles at JDI in Lexington, Ky on Thursday June 6, 2013 in Lexington Ky. Photo by Mark Cornelison Staff


The University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History has begun collecting the oral history of bourbon.

The Kentucky Bourbon Tales began with interviews with Heaven Hill master distillers Parker Beam and Craig Beam. Portions of those interviews can be seen online at

The project will collect each distiller's personal story, the history of the distilleries, changes to the industry and background on the distilling process, plus favorite yarns related to the people and products behind America's only native spirit, according to a UK news release.

The first distilleries to be featured will be Brown-Forman Corp., Diageo North America, Four Roses Distillery, Heaven Hill, Jim Beam, Maker's Mark and Wild Turkey Distillery.

As the Nunn Center digitizes the content, the public will be able to easily search the collection using OHMS, the Oral History Metadata Synchronizer, which connects searches to the text in transcripts and to correlating moments in audio or video interviews.

The project is supported by the KDA and its member distilleries, according to the news release.

Janet Patton: (859) 231-3264. Twitter: @janetpattonhl.

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