The Pepper Campus is coming back to life.
Photo: Dayvee Sutton
Photo: Dayvee Sutton

Spirit returns to Lexington's distillery district

There's a lot of history in the Lexington Distillery District.

Founded in 1790, it was once the largest distillery districts in the United States.

Prohibition forced most of the distilleries to close down, with only the James E. Pepper Distillery surviving.

The area was dormant for decades, used mostly as storage for the city. But Lexington's revitalization project, which began just a few years ago, is changing that.

Now the Pepper Campus is growing to be one of the hippest places around town.

There's a coffee shop, brewery, distillery, restaurant, craft ice cream joint and a bar, and that's just the beginning, as a dozen more businesses are set to open later this year.

Ethereal Brewing was one of the first businesses to open its doors in 2015. It's a micro-brewery owned by young friends who simply love beer.

"We have two different beers. We have an imperial stout, and we have an old ale," said Andrew Bishop, co-founder of Ethereal. "So they're all going to be some funky beers the way that we brew them. They're all going to be neat. But they take some time."

The place is no frills, with a simple bar in the front of the building.

In the back, there's a makeshift game room, with a pool table and dart board, steps from the brewing facilities.

Out front is an extended patio area, which makes it the perfect setting for outside socials during spring, summer and fall.

Visit for more information on Ethereal Brewery. 1224 Manchester St., Lexington, Ky., 40508. Phone: 859-309-1254

For the Pepper Campus visit, 1170 Manchester St., Lexington, Ky., 40508. Phone: 859-309-1254

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