Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Remembering Buffalo Springs Distillery

Stamping Ground is a small town in Kentucky's Scott County. It was so named by its first settlers, who observed herds of bison trampling the grasses around a fruitful spring. Not long after the buffalo departed, the spring was turned to the production of whiskey. There was a distillery on the site for about 100 years.

The one known as Buffalo Springs Distillery was constructed early in the 20th century. It produced several bourbon brands including Boots and Saddle. It came back and was substantially rebuilt after Prohibition. Otis Beam, one of the seven master distiller sons of Joseph L. Beam, was the distiller. Eventually purchased by Seagram, it ceased production for good in the 1960s and stood vacant for many years thereafter.

Buffalo Springs was typical of the many small town distilleries that once abounded in the region. It generally operated from late fall until early spring, employing local farmers for the period between harvest and planting. As one of the few sources of non-farm employment, it dominated the local economy and was a powerful part of the town’s consciousness.


Richnimrod said...

Small story; but, I suspect, a pretty common theme from the early days of our Nation (and before, no doubt) through many, many years.
Maybe not too many went into the 60's; but I'm sure a large number operated until the early 1900's. I wonder how many of the small, local distilleries like Buffalo Springs were operating after Prohibition???
As always thanx for posting this story, Chuck.

CWK said...

Thanks for the story Chuck. I live in Georgetown KY and had no idea there had been a distillery just down the road in Stamping Ground.

Taylor Piercefield said...

We drove out to explore this place years ago, It's such a shame seeing this history rot into the ground.

I became fascinated with these old distilleries in my early 20's.

Unknown said...

My family is from stamping ground and my father and several of his brothers worked there I was born in 71 and played there as a kid. Great memories

Unknown said...

Ok so I have two mint condition buffalo springs bourbon bottles with a perfect picture on both and still has a cork in both and have been to the museum and they don't even have a clue how old they are because most people have found boots and settle but min just says buffalo springs old kentucky whiskey on it with a buffalo in it and I'm wanting to know history about before selling I'm from paducah and working in georgetown for the couple of weeks I would love to here from somebody

Bruce Beam Phillips said...

I realize this thread's most recent post is from last year but I just saw it.
My grandfather was Otis Beam, the master distiller at Buffalo Springs.
What I understand is that what was left of the old Buffalo Springs distillery was leveled by a tornado a few years back.
Someone was selling chunks of the limestone building that were left and I bought one.
I don't have any other artifacts from Buffalo Springs.
Blayke, if you have not disposed of the Buffalo Springs bottles I'd be interested in obtaining one, especially if my grandfather's name is on the bottle.
Bruce Beam Phillips

Marilyn Bott said...

In response to unknown (Bruce Beam Phillips) above - I'm not sure how to reach you but if you see this, I have a Buffalo Springs Distillery bottle that I picked up recently. If you get in touch with me we can talk about your interest. I love to see bits of history reunited with their families.
Marilyn Bott

Jack Tackett said...

If you still have the bottle I would be interested in it. I actually own part of the original property the distillery was on and would love a piece of the history. Thanks.

Mountain Justice said...

Was the distillery located where the Dollar General store is today (2020)?

Chuck Cowdery said...

Don't know. I haven't been there recently. Sorry.

Unknown said...

Lived in Stamping Ground in 1973. Used to play on the grounds of the distillery.Buildings were still in pretty good shape. Was twelve years old. Lived on Georgetown/Lexington Rd. at the Spindle Top trailer court in Scott County in 1974. When the tornadoes hit. What a day/night that was.💀🌪️⛈️