Interview with Elmer T. Lee, October 30, 2008

Project: Bourbon in Kentucky: Buffalo Trace Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

Elmer T. Lee, retired master distiller of the distillery now known as Buffalo Trace, was born in Frankfort in 1919 and came to work at the distillery in 1949. Before beginning work at Buffalo Trace, he served in World War II and received a degree in engineering from the University of Kentucky. Lee describes his childhood in Kentucky and explains how he began working at the distillery as an engineer and rose to the position of plant manager and, later, master distiller. In this interview, Lee discusses changes to the distillery over time, including changes in ownership, modernization of the production process and changes in the brands produced. Lee describes the addition of single-barrel bourbons to the distillery's products, including his own brand, Elmer T. Lee. He describes the aging and tasting processes and explains how he selects the bourbon for the Elmer T. Lee brand. Lee also describes changes felt by the bourbon industry as a whole, such as the fluctuation of bourbon's popularity in the marketplace and the growth in demand for premium bourbons. In addition, Lee speculates about the future of the bourbon industry.

Interview Accession

2009oh023_bik004

Interviewee Name

Elmer T. Lee

Interviewer Name

Thomas Troland

Interview Date

2008-10-30

Interview Rights

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

Interview Usage

Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Lee, Elmer T. Interview by Thomas Troland. 30 Oct. 2008. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Lee, E.T. (2008, October 30). Interview by T. Troland. Bourbon in Kentucky: Buffalo Trace Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Lee, Elmer T., interview by Thomas Troland. October 30, 2008, Bourbon in Kentucky: Buffalo Trace Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt708k74tx0z