Launch of Eastern Light Distilling Heralds New Day
for Kentucky Bourbon

Bourbon Industry Veterans Chart New Course to Transform Craft Distilling Market

LOUISVILLE, KY. A new day is dawning for Kentucky bourbon as Eastern Light Distilling introduces an innovative concept to expand Kentucky’s signature bourbon industry into Eastern Kentucky, bringing significant new investment, new jobs and new tourism opportunities to the region.

More than just another distillery, this Kentucky-owned and operated business, which today received preliminary approval for a 15-year incentive agreement from the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) under the Kentucky Business Investment program, will help bring new entrants into the state’s signature bourbon industry, supporting craft distillers like never before and making our bourbon heritage accessible to more Kentuckians.

“Eastern Light is the culmination of a lifelong dream to see our state’s signature bourbon industry in my home of Eastern Kentucky,” said Caleb Kilburn, Master Distiller of Eastern Light Distilling. “This is especially important to me because it creates opportunity right here in our own community. It means the next kid from Eastern Kentucky with a dream of becoming a master distiller won’t have to leave home to find their start.”

“Our signature bourbon industry is making its way into Eastern Kentucky with an exciting new company, Eastern Light Distilling,” said Gov. Andy Beshear in the state’s press release. “This new distilling operation will not only help foster growth in our craft bourbon industry but will also bring more than $143 million in new economic development investment, well-paying jobs and another great reason for tourists to visit the region. This is the kind of homegrown company that makes Kentucky and our signature bourbon industry so special.”

Established by Kentucky bourbon industry veterans Caleb Kilburn and Cordell Lawrence, Eastern Light Distilling will provide forward-thinking solutions to help address growing challenges in the spirits industry, particularly for craft distillers. The concept behind the new company marries bourbon and entrepreneurism–two things that have helped Kentucky flourish and that will be critical to our state’s bright future.

“This is about far more than a single spirit brand. It’s about helping build Kentucky’s craft bourbon industry through a customized approach working hand in hand with craft distillers,” said Cordell Lawrence, CEO of Eastern Light Distilling. “We’re grateful to Governor Beshear, local officials in Morehead and Rowan County, and to everyone else who has helped us realize this dream of creating a unique and innovative concept to advance Kentucky’s time-honored bourbon industry and help new entrants access the thriving spirits marketplace.”

Eastern Light Distilling has been granted up to $2 million in state economic development tax incentives to create a new venue that will help grow the craft bourbon industry. The company plans to invest upwards of $200 million in Rowan County in the coming years to create a comprehensive new venue that will include a distillery, rickhouses and professional offices contributing to increased economic and tourism opportunities in Eastern Kentucky.

“Our signature Bourbon industry is thriving behind quality products distilled by the finest craftsmen and women all over the world,” said Eric Gregory, president of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association. “This exciting new project is a shining example of what Kentucky Bourbon is all about. Extending our world-famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail® tour to Eastern Kentucky means more opportunity for craft distillers, new investment in different communities and new jobs—all of which highlight the bright future of Kentucky’s Bourbon industry.”

For many years, Kilburn and Lawrence have proudly worked alongside the Taylor family in Louisville as they continue to honor the fine tradition that is Kentucky Peerless Distilling Company. While they will eventually depart from Peerless to take on their new endeavor, they are immensely grateful for the opportunities their time with the Taylor family has offered.

“Caleb and Cordell have poured their hearts into Kentucky Peerless, and I am grateful for all they have done for our family and our brand,” said Corky Taylor, CEO of Kentucky Peerless. “We are thankful for their service and admire their entrepreneurial spirit. They should be proud of what we achieved together, and I am excited that they are claiming this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to elevate Kentucky’s craft distilling industry.”

Kilburn and Lawrence extend their gratitude to Corky and Carson Taylor for giving them the opportunity to be part of the Kentucky Peerless family. Together with the whole Peerless team, they revived one of America’s greatest bourbon brands and helped them rightfully reclaim their family’s legacy. With shared admiration, Corky, Carson, Caleb and Cordell honor their transition from teammates to peers.

The project is currently in the planning stages, and more exciting details will be announced in the coming months. For now, we encourage everyone to visit to learn more about this innovative new endeavor to grow Kentucky’s signature bourbon industry.


Eastern Light Distilling, which will be located in Rowan County, is introducing a unique new concept that will grow the state’s signature bourbon industry in Eastern Kentucky while supporting craft bourbon makers as a custom contract distiller. The locally owned venture is led by Kentucky bourbon industry veterans, including an internationally recognized master distiller and a senior industry executive. More information about the company is available at

Media Inquires