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Edmund Haynes Taylor, Jr. | 1922

A statesman, the father of the modern bourbon industry and noted Hereford breeder, Colonel Taylor was a man of many pursuits.

1830-1923 | Artist: Robert Wadsworth Grafton (1876-1936)

Impact & Accomplishments

This great nephew of President Zachary Taylor was born in Columbus, Kentucky. Edmund Haynes Taylor was named for his uncle, who raised him following his father, John Taylor’s, death. In gratitude, he added “Junior” to his name.

E. H. Taylor followed his uncle into the banking field, and then in the 1860s, he invested in the Hermitage distillery, in Frankfort, Kentucky, helping to establish the brands Old Crow and Old Hermitage. In 1869, Taylor launched the O. F. C. Distillery and was, thereafter, focused on his own brand, Old Taylor.

Given the honorary title of a Kentucky Colonel, Colonel Taylor garnered as much recognition from his secondary pursuit: Hereford cattle. Late in life, he established Hereford Farms in Woodford County, becoming a successful importer and breeder of livestock. The bull, Woodford, was the celebrated sire of the herd.

E. H. Taylor, Jr., also served as mayor of Frankfort for sixteen years (1871-1877 and 1881-1890), was a Kentucky representative (1891-1893), and was elected a state senator twice, in 1893 and again in 1901.

Did You Know?

Taylor is often referred to as “the father of the modern bourbon industry” for innovations like copper fermentation tanks, state-of-the-art grain equipment, columnar stills, a more efficient sour mash technique, a first-of-its-kind steam heating system to help in the maturation process of bourbon aging inside the barrel and for his role in helping with passage of the Bottled in Bond Act of 1897. The BIB Act guaranteed that what a distiller said was in the bottle was in fact in the bottle. In short, it said the spirit in the bottle must be made by one distiller at one distillery in one distilling season; it must be aged for at least four or more years and bottled at 100 proof. Prior to this law there was widespread adulteration by many distillers and resellers of spirits.

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