Buffalo Trace Master Distiller Emeritus Elmer T. Lee Laid to Rest in Frankfort

Jul 22, 2013

A longtime Kentucky bourbon maker who’s credited with helping spark the industry’s comeback has been laid to rest.

Elmer T. Lee died last week in Frankfort at the age of 93. He was the master distiller emeritus at Buffalo Trace Distillery.

His most notable contribution to the bourbon industry came in 1984, when he introduced Blanton’s, a single-barrel brand of bourbon.  The introduction sparked a trend toward small-batch bourbons that revived the industry.

Filson Historical Society bourbon historian Michael Veach says Elmer Lee was a tireless ambassador for the product.

"He was always around to answer questions for anybody, he was a great public figure.   He would come into the distillery every Tuesday to pick whiskey for his Elmer T. Lee brand," Veach said. 

Lee began working in the bourbon industry in 1949, at the George T. Stagg Distillery, which eventually became the Buffalo Trace Distillery.