The Bluegrass Brewing Company began serving its ales & lagers in November 1993 when their restaurant and brewery opened in St. Matthews, in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the years, the brewpub and its beers experienced a surge in popularity, leading the Bluegrass Brewing Company (BBC) to start selling draft beer to retail outlets throughout the state. With the BBC brand becoming more widely available on local taps, it was just a matter of time before they started bottling their fine malty nectars. In 1999, the first bottles of BBC brand brew were released to a very thirsty marketplace. In order to keep up with demand, their bottled beers were contract brewed at a separate brewery. In late 2000, the BBC started considering the possibility of bottling its own product, but this would require the purchase of a new, larger brewery.
Purchasing a new brewery was financially daunting. In order to get capital, the number of owners in the company ballooned from 3 in 1993 to a whopping 50 by 2001! But with the new brewery purchased, original Bluegrass Brewing Company brewmaster David R. Pierce could produce his award-winning beers on a larger scale than ever. And boy, can this guy brew! He's got a bevy of medals to prove it too. What impressed us most was the fact that in 1998, his now legendary Bearded Pat's Barleywine beat out such epitomes of the style as Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot and Anchor's classic, Old Foghorn, at both the Great American Beer Festival AND the Real Ale Festival. But get this folks—the following year, he did it again—bringing home another set of Gold Medals from both fests. Such a feat is practically unheard of!
Despite David's amazing brews, it seemed that having such a large number of owners was limiting the company from effectively growing in to their new brewery. Enter Scott Roussell in April 2005, along with 5 other managing partners who bought out most of the original 50 owners. Interestingly, Scott had no experience in the brewing business prior to his involvement with the BBC, but in his 'former life' ran a venture capital funded wireless technology company. Desirous of a project that would require less travel and keep him closer to home, and recognizing the untapped (no pun intended) potential in a high quality product, Scott began an aggressive promotional campaign as the brewery's new managing director. His grassroots approach to promoting the BBC line of beers has seen their brew appear in over 90 new locations in just 7 short months. This is a brewing company to watch over the next couple of years—they're currently the largest microbrewery in Kentucky, and their growth is expected to be tremendous.
For more information about the brewery & scheduled tours, or their unique brewpub (which is actually a kind of museum dedicated to paraphernalia featuring local breweries in Louisville's history), call (502) 584-BREW or check out their web site at www.bluegrassbrew.com.