The first Kentucky whisky hit the scene back in the late 1700s, when an unknown farmer stored his new whisky in a charred barrel. It’s the char that gives Kentucky whisky its smooth-drinking taste and distinctive red color. Like most bottled whiskies, Early Times Whisky came into being later – 1860 to be exact – at a place called Early Times Station, Kentucky. Kentucky water is perfect for making whisky. And the distillery carefully treats the water to insure that it is iron-free and therefore perfect for crafting a great whisky. Kentucky soil also plays its part, yielding plentiful crops of corn, barley and rye. It wasn’t until 1920 that Early Times really started to prosper. That was the year Congress passed the Volstead Act, and Prohibition began. During Prohibition ET was the one brand that BF purchased to augment its medicinal whisky inventory as a stand alone product. This was due to Early Times’ 63 year reputation as ”the whisky that made Kentucky whisky famous”. The Brown-Forman Company acquired Early Times in 1923 and over the next 30 years made Early Times the best-selling whisky in the country. Today its smoothness is savored in over 40 countries. In 1987 the Early Times Mint Julep was named the Official Drink of the Kentucky Derby®. Nearly 90,000 Early Times Mint Juleps are enjoyed at Churchill Downs® racetrack every Derby Week. To learn more, visit our Derby section. Whisky-industry icon Lincoln Henderson retired from his position of Early Times Master Distiller in 2004, handing the reins over to the well-deserving Chris Morris. That same year, Glenn Glaser succeeded Leo Reidinger as Distillery Manager. The transition proved to be as smooth as our whisky. Here’s proof: In 2005, Early Times became the best-selling Kentucky whisky in Japan.