Around 1875, Sam Clay, Jr. established a whiskey brokerage in Lexington, with offices located at 11 West Water Street. Clay was from Paris, Bourbon County, and associated with Thomas J. Megibben. In 1879, he became a partner in the Wm. Tarr & Company, which operated the Ashland Distillery. He marketed the firm’s Ashland and Wm. Tarr whiskies.
Bill of Exchange to Sam Clay, Jr. for whiskey
In 1880, he purchased the Paris Distillery in Paris, Kentucky, and produced a sour mash whiskey called Sam Clay Bourbon. In 1882, the plant produced forty barrels per day and had more than fifteen thousand barrels in bonded storage. Megibben operated the distillery from 1884 to 1890. In 1901, Clay sold the distillery to the Whiskey Trust.
Around 1884, Clay left the Old Tarr partnership over the disputed sale of the Kentucky Union Railroad. The firm of J. A. Lail & Company assumed the distribution for the Ashland Distillery.