Maysville is the birthplace of bourbon?

So says the New York Times.

The New York Times recently reviewed a restaurant named Maysville, which as you might assume, is a nod to the Kentucky river town in Mason County.

Why would New York restaurateurs choose the name? It’s Rosemary Clooney’s hometown and Manhattan is where she built her reputation as a performer. (Still obscure? We think so, too, but that’s OK.) Its menu could be described as “sophisticated southern” for the way it draws on Dixie influences, albeit ones artfully fused with other cuisines. Its bar also sports a zillion American whiskeys, many of which are bourbon. So it all works.

The restaurant got a well-earned two star review (two out of four from the NYT is quite good for this type of restaurant) and the piece is a great read. (Follow the link at the end to read it.) But what troubled us was critic Pete Wells’ mention that Maysville is the birthplace of Kentucky bourbon. Another Manhattan food blog,, says the very same thing.

Since when? Does anyone know of a distillery of any account existing in Mason County? Ever? We’re Kentucky lifers here at Food & Dining, and our combined age exceed the century mark. That means we’ve heard A LOT of bourbon stories and we’ve never heard a thing about Maysville or Mason County bearing bourbon. What about you?

Here’s the review.

2 thoughts on “Maysville is the birthplace of bourbon?”

  1. Yes, Maysville is documented as the “Birthplace of Bourbon” in many historical books and documents. Probably the best historical documentation is Kentucky Educational Television’s 2008 documentary entitled “Bourbon and Kentucky: A History Distilled.” This 2 hour long documentary explores the origins of bourbon in Kentucky and concludes, after an exhaustive review, that Maysville is the Birthplace of Bourbon. This is largely based on the fact that Limestone Landing was the first, and most significant, port for transportation of goods on the Ohio River, and many settlers would bring their goods there for sale and transport. It is an excellent documentary, and one, among many, documenting Maysville as the Birthplace of Bourbon. It is also a great town worth exploring.

  2. I’m from Cincinnati and saw this restaurant in looking for places to eat in NYC. I was curious about the name, saw the “birthplace” blurb, and googled it to find the same thing. I know Old Pogue just started distilling there again recently, and in a news article announcing that distillery opening, it said that Maysville had the first distillery in Kentucky. Not sure if that actually equates to the birthplace of bourbon or not but I guess its a start. There’s been a recent push for a craft bourbon trail also and I think Maysville and Pogue are the current Northern end.

Comments are closed.