Kentucky Distillers’ Association Welcomes The Bard Distillery as Newest Craft Member

November 23, 2020

For Immediate Release – November 23, 2020

FRANKFORT, Ky. – The Kentucky Distillers’ Association today announced that The Bard Distillery in Muhlenberg County is the newest and 41st member of the non-profit trade group that unites and leads Kentucky’s signature Bourbon and distilled spirits industry.

Inspired by a trip to Maker’s Mark Distillery in 2006, Tom and Kim Bard opened The Bard last year in Muhlenberg County’s historic Graham School with the vision of restoring the property which has deep roots in the community. Tom Bard attended the school, as did three generations of his family. 

His 4th great-grandfather was William Bard, one of two brothers who founded Bardstown, Kentucky.

A mechanical engineer, Tom Bard learned to distill from a decade of study and networking, including attending Distillery Camp at KDA Craft member MB Roland Distillery in Pembroke, Kentucky. The Bard campus features a distillery, visitor center and gift shop with plans for future expansion.

Kim Bard is a former middle school principal and NASCAR driver, and she continues to race monster trucks in Australia when time allows. No stranger to setting lofty goals and achieving them, Tom Bard said Kim is a driving force behind the growth and success of the distillery.  

“We couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the KDA,” Tom Bard said. “Kim and I have dedicated years of our lives to our distillery, and to finally be open, operating, and now a recognized member of Kentucky’s growing group of distillers, it’s an honor and a dream come true.” 

Current products include Cinder & Smoke, a 13-year-old straight Bourbon whiskey, and Silver Muhl White Whiskey. In addition to producing Bourbon and whiskey this year, The Bard Distillery halted production to create much-needed hand sanitizer over the summer to help with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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KDA President Eric Gregory said the Bards demonstrate a true commitment to the heritage of Kentucky’s signature distilling industry and to the preservation of a local landmark. 

“We are thrilled to welcome the Bards into our growing family of Kentucky’s finest distillers,” Gregory said. “We look forward to their leadership, supporting their success and working together to responsibly grow and sustain Kentucky’s iconic Bourbon and distilled spirits industry.”

The Bard is the KDA’s 16th Craft-level member, aging less than 10,000 barrels a year, and joins an impressive list of flourishing distilleries in the Western Kentucky region, including MB Roland and Casey Jones in Christian County and Dueling Grounds in Simpson County. 

The Bard also is now eligible to join the KDA’s Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour®. 

Founded in 1880, the KDA is the state’s voice for Bourbon and spirits issues. Its diverse membership produces the overwhelming majority of the world’s Bourbon, from legendary, global brands to emerging micro distilleries that are building the next generation of the timeless craft.

Kentucky Bourbon is one of the Commonwealth’s most historic and treasured industries, a booming $8.6 billion economic engine that generates more than 20,100 jobs with an annual payroll topping $1 billion million each year.

In addition, the industry is in the middle of a $2.3 billion building boom, from innovative new tourism centers to expanded production facilities, all to meet the growing global thirst for Kentucky Bourbon.

There are now nearly10 million barrels of Bourbon and other spirits aging in Kentucky warehouses, the highest number in the modern era of American Whiskey. Of that, 9.3 million are just Bourbon, the first time since 1967 that the number of Bourbon barrels topped nine million.

Bourbon production has skyrocketed more than 360 percent since the turn of the century, with Kentucky distillers filling 2.1 million barrels in 2019, the second year in a row that Kentucky distillers have filled two million barrels, the first time that’s happened in the modern era. 

Attendance at the KDA’s Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® distilleries has skyrocketed more than 300 percent in the last 10 years. Total attendance last year was nearly 2 million, the highest number since KDA founded the tour in 1999. 

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Gregory said that the KDA has worked with state legislators for years to level the playing field for Kentucky distillers, and because of these efforts, The Bard Distillery was able to open in a dry area because the overwhelming majority of the precinct voted to allow them to build their business in Muhlenberg County.

“Having another family-owned distillery anchoring the western corridor of Kentucky’s flourishing Bourbon industry is a real success story for small business and our industry,” Gregory said. “We thank the Bards for their dedication and hard work to strengthen Kentucky’s place as the one true home for Bourbon.”

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For more information, contact: Eric Gregory, KDA President, (502) 875-9351

Founded in 1880, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association is the legendary voice for Kentucky’s signature Bourbon and distilled spirits industry. Its diverse and growing membership produces the overwhelming majority of the world’s Bourbon, from historic, global brands to emerging micro distilleries that are fostering the next generation of the Commonwealth’s landmark economic engine and its thriving, timeless craft. Member benefits include media relations, international trade development, private sampling events, technical assistance, economic development support, networking, legal defense, marketing strategies, governmental and regulatory advocacy and innovative tourism experiences through the KDA’s world-famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® adventures. A 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization, the KDA maintains an open membership policy, champions a strong commitment to the responsible and moderate consumption of spirits, and fights to curb underage drinking and drunk driving. Learn more at and 

KENTUCKY BOURBON TRAIL®, KENTUCKY BOURBON TRAIL CRAFT TOUR®, KENTUCKY BOURBON AFFAIR™, KBT®, BOURBON TRAIL™ and KENTUCKY BOURBON HALL OF FAME® are trademarks/service marks of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association. Make It Memorable – Enjoy Responsibly.

Enjoy Like a True Kentuckian: Responsibly