Buffalo Trace Distillery

Buffalo Trace Distillery logo

Buffalo Trace Distillery

Buffalo Trace Distillery, located in Frankfort, Kentucky, has a long and storied history that dates back to the early days of American whiskey production.

The distillery changed hands multiple times throughout the 1800s and 1900s and saw the influence of prominent figures in the whiskey industry. In the mid-1800s, Edmund Haynes Taylor Jr., known as Colonel E.H. Taylor, Jr., purchased the distillery and made significant contributions to the development of bourbon production methods.

Buffalo Trace Distillery was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2013, recognizing its historical and cultural significance. The distillery has a vast network of aging warehouses, some of which are more than a century old, housing millions of barrels of aging whiskey.




The distillery has a rich history that can be traced back to the early 19th century. It has gone through various owners and name changes before becoming Buffalo Trace Distillery in 1992.

  • 1812

    The first distillery is established on the site in Frankfort, KY by Harrison Blanton.

  • 1870

    The distillery is purchased by Colonel E. H. Taylor, Jr. and named Old Fire Copper (or Old Fashioned Copper).

  • 1878

    George T. Stagg purchases the distillery, and Taylor becomes a partner in the business. Stagg left the business in the 1890s.

  • 1897

    Albert B. Blanton, a descendant of Harrison, is hired by the distillery. He became plant manager in 1912, then briefly owned the distillery, before becoming president shortly before prohibition began. He obtained a permit to continue production for medicinal purposes, led expansions, and finally retired in 1952.

  • 1904

    The distillery is renamed George T. Stagg Distillery.

  • 1992

    George T. Stagg Distillery is sold to Sazerac and renamed Buffalo Trace Distillery, paying homage to the historic buffalo crossings near the site along the Kentucky River.

Use of NFC Technology

In December 2021, consumers noticed1Medium – Charles Sestito that Buffalo Trace had begun implementing a new foil seal on at least some of this year’s Buffalo Trace Antique Collection bottles. The bottle of Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye that Instagram user @doitforthedram purchased and opened has an embedded NFC sensor under the foil seal.

When scanned with a smartphone app (NFC Tools), the tag opens a website that verifies the authenticity of the bottle and indicates whether the seal has ever been opened2YouTube. The duo found that once the bottle was opened, a circuit embedded in the foil is broken, notifying the tag that it had been opened.

Once opened, bottles may be refilled with a completely different whiskey, resealed and sold for extremely high prices by counterfeiters. In September 2021, Buffalo Trace took the surprising step of issuing a press release3Buffalo Trace Distillery Warns Fans Of Potential Online Scams to warn whiskey buyers about counterfeit products. The distillery specifically mentions Blanton’s and Double Eagle Very Rare as frequent targets, but it’s also become a problem with their Buffalo Trace Antique Collection and Van Winkle lines.