William Bard, the son of Irish immigrants, first traveled to Kentucky in search of salt to ship back to his home state of Pennsylvania. A surveyor, William created the first map of Louisville, Kentucky in 1779. He soon thereafter settled south of Louisville where he, along with his brother David, created the town that would bear his name and that would become legendary as the “bourbon capital of the world.”
Isaac Bard, son of William and an ordained minister and farmer, moved from his home city of Bardstown to Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, where he became a prominent figure in the area and established a farm where, nearly 200 years later, his descendants still reside.
W.G. Duncan opened up a coal mine in Muhlenberg County. Soon a town was formed to house the miners, and it was given Mr. Duncan’s middle name of Graham. The mine was prosperous, and the town continued to grow. In 1925, Duncan commissioned the construction of a school for his town.
This large, beautiful, art-deco style facility was built high on a hill overlooking Graham, and it became the centerpiece of the community. In fact, Thomas Bard went to school there for seven years, as did three generations of his family before him.
In 1954, the coal mine closed and the town’s identity was lost. The school brought the community together for many more years, but it too succumbed to progress and was abandoned in 2004.
Thomas & Kim Bard
In 2015, Thomas and Kim Bard purchased the property. They are now going through the painstaking process of renovating the enormous space into a world class craft distillery and tourist destination, while still maintaining the fabric of the historical buildings. The years have taken a tole on the nearly 100 year old site, but the bones are strong, the design is gorgeous, and the layout and location is perfect for the distillery and entertainment venue that they have envisioned.
Thomas was raised on Isaac’s farm in Muhlenberg County. He is the 4th great grandson of William Bard, the founder of Bardstown. A graduate of the University of Kentucky and a mechanical engineer, his background is in industrial quality control and continuous improvement. Thomas spent many years in motorsports, working through the stock car ranks and serving many roles, including tire changer, jack man, fabricator, tire specialist, and crew chief. Family lore had always made mention of the direct link to Bardstown and bourbon, and Thomas decided it was time for the family to take a bigger role in the spirit to which the family was so closely linked.
Kimberly Carter Bard
Kim hails from Tallahassee, Florida. Although her professional resume includes a Master’s Degree in Administration from Southeastern Louisiana University and many years in the education field, she is best known for her years as a racer in the Nascar Busch (now XFINITY) series, and as a driver for Monster Jam in Central America. She now drives monster trucks in Australia. She lives with her husband, Thomas, on the family farm in Kentucky. Their home sits on the very spot where Isaac Bard built his house nearly 200 years ago.