The historic James Pepper Distillery celebrated its first barrel filling of James E. Pepper whiskey on December 21, 2017, marking a new beginning since the facility stopped making spirits in 1958. The original James Pepper was built in 1869 and was abandoned for more than 50 years. The James Pepper Distilling Co., producer of the James E. Pepper “1776” whiskey brand, announced that it has fermented, distilled and barreled its first batch of bourbon whiskey at the James E. Pepper Distillery in Lexington, Kentucky. The project to renovate and rebuild “Distillery No. 5,” the official designation as the fifth distillery license ever issued in the state of Kentucky, began in May 2016.