From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Johnson, Freddie / James Johnson, Sr. / James Johnson, Jr.

Freddie Johnson is the bourbon tour guide at Buffalo Trace in Frankfort, KY. He and his family have a long history with the distillery going back to his grandfather, James B. "Jimmy" Johnson, Sr., who was hired by Colonel Albert Blanton in 1912.

Col. Blanton was manager of the George T. Stagg Distillery, which would become known as Buffalo Trace. Jimmy Johnson, Sr. was hired as the warehouse foreman, which was unheard of during the time; he was the first African American warehouse foreman in Kentucky.

James B. "Jimmy" Johnson, Jr. also worked for the distillery, hired in 1936, then working his way up through the ranks to become one of the first African American warehouse supervisors in Kentucky.

Jimmy's son Freddie Johnson is the third generation to work at the distillery. In 2018, Freddie was inducted into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame (see YouTube video).

For more information see S. Akley, "A Plea for Freddie Johnson, and Family, for the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame in 2018," 4/28/2018, online at the Linked In website; and M. Kimberl, "Freddie Johnson, 3rd Generation Buffalo Trace Man," 12/3/2015, online at The Whiskey Wash website

*This entry was suggested by Laura Hall, University of Kentucky Libraries.


Kentucky County & Region

Read about Franklin County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Frankfort, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Johnson, Freddie / James Johnson, Sr. / James Johnson, Jr.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 28, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-03-06 17:27:04