In 2007 Queen Elizabeth II visited our fair fleur de lis to attend the 133rd running of the Kentucky Derby. Governor Steve Beshear greeted the royal party, along with his wife Jane, who presented Her Majesty with a token to remember our great state…an Old Kentucky Home music box from Louisville Stoneware.
This wasn’t the first time that Stoneware & Co. took national notice. It’s rumored that Mamie Eisenhower used the Bachelor Button (formerly Cornflower/Cornflower Blue) pattern as her every day dishes in the White House during her husband Dwight’s administration. We choose to believe that is 100% true. Why wouldn’t a First Lady want to enjoy meals with friends on handcrafted plates supporting local American makers?
Nestled in the nook of Paristown Pointe at the edge of The Highlands on Brent St., Stoneware & Co. is one of the oldest companies in the United States, & the largest pottery company in the South. Originally founded in 1815 as Lewis Pottery by young entrepreneur Jacob Lewis, the company has lived under many names & survived every major shift in our nations history, including 5 global conflicts, multiple recessions, The Great Depression & more. Their commitment to the original craft & consistent employment of local artisans breeds loyalty in customers that stands the tests of trend & time, & the long-lasting strength of each piece positions Stoneware as an investment folks want to make.
Most Louisvillians grow up able to spot the signature aesthetic of Stoneware & Co. & many have owned a piece or two. Some even have entire family collections passed through generations that continue to grow with the timeless patterns still available today. It is that rich legacy & commitment to quality that makes Stoneware & Co. so special.
While there have been great changes in the kinds of pieces produced with shifts in market demand over their 204 years of business, there is something for everyone in the Stoneware & Co. collection today. From the signature mint julep glasses (which also come in candles for dual enjoyment) to large serving platters, every type of dish is available at a wide range of prices.
You can also go to Stoneware & Co. to discover other Kentucky Proud products & experience goods from around the country from brands with similar values & commitment to excellence. From the famous Captain Rodney’s sauce (which makes an out of this world dip) to their own Kentucky Bourbon Pie Company jared pie mixes, you can make a full spread for your guests (or yourself) with a visit to Stoneware.
Stoneware makes it mark on the scene each Derby season as well, forging custom pieces for the Kentucky Derby Festival Humana mini & Marathon Winners, The Great BalloonFest, & perfect gifts for any visitor to take home to remember their time in our sweet city.
It’s clear to every visitor that the team at Stoneware & Co. is deeply committed to delivering beautiful goods make from Kentucky clay by Kentucky hands, as well as creating ways for the public to engage with the brand. It’s not unusual for the current owner/steward of the company, Stephen A. Smith, to join in designing gift crates or any other thing that needs to be done. “I don’t even have a real office,” he said with a laugh in passing during our recent visit.
Whether your personal history with Stoneware & Co. is long or yet to begin, we encourage everyone to head down to Paristown for a tour of the factory & to peruse the gorgeous goods made on sight each day. You can even book their space for an event, enjoy a make-your-own pottery class, or just walk through & soak up stories from one of their many enthusiastic team members. While you’re there, thank them for their contribution to the culture & heritage of our Commonwealth. It is certainly something to be celebrated.
Stoneware & Co. retail showroom is open Monday-Saturday from 10AM-5PM. Factory tours take place Monday-Friday at 10:30AM & 1:30PM. Call ahead for large group tour reservations or to paint your own pottery! (502) 582-1900