George T. Stagg was born December 19, 1835, in Garrard County, Kentucky. In November 1861 he enlisted in the Union Army during the U. S. Civil War when he received a field commission to first lieutenant in January 1862 and a promotion to Captain a year later.
When the Civil War ended, Stagg moved with his growing family to St. Louis, Missouri, where he worked as a whiskey salesman in St. Louis. As a salesman Stagg purchased barrels of O.F.C. and slowly grew his relationship with the bourbon icon E.H. Taylor, Jr. When Taylor hit financial hardships, Stagg used this as an opportunity to move from selling whiskey to making it and purchased the O.F.C. Distillery. Stagg & Taylor formed E.H. Taylor, Jr. & Co. with Stagg as the President. Together they built the most dominant American distillery of the 19th century, now known as Buffalo Trace Distillery. A leading industry expert at the time declared the Distillery “one plus ultra of its class,” the best of the best.
After conflicting ideals over their vision of the Distillery, Taylor separated himself from O.F.C. moving onto other projects while Stagg’s salesmanship and financial acumen helped build the Distillery into one of the world’s leading bourbon producers. In honor of this achievement, the Distillery was rechristened in 1900 to bear Stagg’s name.
Today, Buffalo Trace Distillery strives to carry on the tradition of innovation and excellence of one of its famous forefathers. In 2000, the Distillery was honored with the prestigious “Distillery of the Year” designation by Whisky Advocate, the first American distillery to win this award. Since 2000, Buffalo Trace Distillery has won multiple other Distillery of the Year titles, each a testament to Stagg’s efforts and the foundation that he built nearly 150 years ago.