Paris, Kentucky, is known for the sprawling Thoroughbred farms in the surrounding area of Bourbon County. A revival of the city’s downtown is giving residents and visitors more reason to spend time in town.
As the center of Bourbon County, it comes as a surprise to many that there were no distilleries in town for nearly a century. While the business was booming in the early 20th century, with more than 100 distilleries in the county, the prohibition era brought an abrupt end to Bourbon County bourbon.
Andrew Buchanan and his family took a historic step by opening The Gentleman Distillery in Paris, which is now called Hartfield & Co.
“It’s a really exciting opportunity to be able to do this,” says Buchanan. It was 95 years without bourbon or liquor or anything produced here [in Bourbon County]. We’re excited that we’re kind of making history.”
Hartfield & Co. is committed to making a product that is truly local, using local grains and producing their bourbon and other liquors in Paris.
“As all of our spirits are aging, they won’t leave the boundary of Bourbon County until they’re bottled and ready to go,” says Buchanan. “Making this as much of a true sort of Bourbon County product is really one of the goals behind it.”
Visitors will find other drinking and dining spots in the core of Paris. Rooster Brew recently opened as the city’s first microbrewery. The taproom offers a selection of craft beer in an interior space designed using repurposed wood. Paradise Café is an Asian restaurant with an odd distinction: It’s located on the first floor of the world’s tallest three-story building. Lil’s Coffee House offers lunch and pastries along with locally roasted coffee from nearby Café Marco.
Lil’s is located in an old J.J. Newberry’s building, with the now defunct dime store chain’s distinctive gold lettering still intact above the awning. The building is also home to one of Paris’s antique shops, Ardery’s Antiques and Collectibles.
Across Main St., Loch Lea Antiques is another destination for collectors.
“This is a relationship business and people love coming here, learning what they can about what we have, and interacting and taking home a treasure,” says Margaret Layton, co-owner of Loch Lea Antiques. “The whole experience of Main St., Paris, is part of that.”
This segment is part of Kentucky Life episode #2006, which originally aired on November 15, 2014. Click here to watch the full episode.