A Kentucky gentleman and bourbon aristocrat in the mold of E.H. Taylor, Jr., Col. Blanton devoted more than 55 years to producing, protecting and promoting fine Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey. Under Col. Blanton’s direction, the Distillery survived and even thrived through WWI, Prohibition, the Great Depression, a devastating flood, WWII, and numerous other challenges throughout the early 20th century.
Born on an adjacent farm to the Distillery, Blanton joined what was then the George T. Stagg Distillery as an office boy at the age of 16. Over the next several years, Blanton was promoted and given experience in every department at the Distillery. Little did he realize the role he would play in the perseverance of the Distillery during prohibition or the massive expansion of the plant.
In 1921, Col. Blanton was promoted to president of the Distillery and tasked with finding solutions to a rapidly declining industry. Col. Blanton kept the Distillery open through Prohibition, obtaining a special government license to produce “medicinal whiskey.” It was one of only a handful of distilleries in the country to obtain this special permission. It is in large part to Blanton’s efforts that Buffalo Trace Distillery has become globally recognized.
Col. Blanton’s fortitude was tested once again after a disastrous flood in 1937 that forced the plant to temporarily halt production. Col. Blanton had the Distillery back to normal operation in just 24 hours through his leadership and creativity.
He was also responsible for much of the aesthetic growth of the Distillery throughout his tenure, building a clubhouse and several gardens as well as his own personal property, the Stony Point mansion that overlooks the Distillery. Blanton remained modest and soft-spoken as the Distillery grew from a mere 14 buildings to a 114-building giant. Today, Buffalo Trace Distillery continues to grow and is celebrated for its internationally awarded whiskeys.
Col. Blanton’s invaluable contributions to the Distillery and the industry as a whole are now honored with Blanton’s Single-Barrel Bourbon. Introduced in 1984, it was the world’s first single-barrel bourbon, a concept that Blanton himself originally utilized for his own private stock and entertaining. As Albert Blanton did, Buffalo Trace Distillery continues to honor traditions of the past, while embracing the changes of the future.