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Early Times is a historic bourbon brand produced for the majority of its time by Brown-Forman at their distillery in Louisville. It was announced in June 2020 however that they had sold the long-serving brand to the Sazerac company.
The origins of the Brown-Forman company date back to 1870 when George Garvin Brown went into business with his brother, John Thompson Street Brown. The pair had struck upon the innovation of selling whiskey in sealed glass bottles in order to ensure quality control to capitalise on the medicinal whiskey trade in the 19th century. They introduced their Old Forester brand in the same year in order to do just that. The two brothers’ business relationship quickly deteriorated however, and George Garvin founded a new venture with his accountant, George Forman, taking the Old Forester label with him. His early investment in the medicinal whiskey trade paid huge dividends when National Prohibition was enacted in 1920, seeing Brown-Forman granted a license to continue making whiskey. It was one of just six, alongside Glenmore, Frankfort Distilleries, Schenley, A. Ph. Stitzel and the American Medicinal Spirits Co. The company then bought the Early Times distillery in 1923 in order to make use of its huge stocks, and for nearly 100 years it was one of its flagship brands. Brown-Forman emerged from Prohibition as one of America's powerhouse distilling companies, adding the Labrot & Graham distillery (later Woodford Reserve) to its portfolio in the 1940s, and the Jack Daniel distillery in Tennessee in the 1950s. The company remains a global player in the whisky industry to this day, opening a new Old Forester distillery in 2018, and acquiring a foothold in the Scotch market in 2016 through its takeover of Benriach, Glenglassaugh and Glendronach.
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