As Mike mentioned, The Hermitage Distillery was organized in 1862 by Gaines, Berry & Co. The distillery was actually built in 1868, on the Kentucky River south of Frankfort. One assumes that the name "Hermitage" was a reference to President Andrew Jackson's home of that name in Nashville, Tennessee, but I don't know that for sure.
The company was reorganized and incorporated in 1868 as W. A. Gaines & Co.
Although the name of W. A. Gaines was most prominent, Hiram Berry was the principal owner and president of the original firm, and in the background was E. H. Taylor Jr., who financed and ran many central Kentucky distilleries in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The 1868 reorganization was primarily a way to increase capitalization (always a challenge in the whiskey business) and brought in Sherman Paris, Marshall J. Allen and Frank S. Stevens, of New York. Paris became president and the company's main offices were there. Berry continued to be the main "man on the ground" in Frankfort, running the distillery part of the business.
Taylor withdrew in 1870, Gaines died in 1872 and Paris retired in 1882. He was succeeded in New York by Marshall J. Allen. Berry continued as vice-president and his son, George, became corporate secretary and his father's understudy in running the local operation.
By 1887, W. A. Gaines was the largest American whiskey company.
The Hermitage Distillery itself was converted into a chair factory during prohibition. There was talk about reviving it after repeal, but nothing came of it and the facility was razed in 1945.
In about 1878, the Gaines company sold the original Old Crow plant (today's Woodford Reserve Distillery) and built a new distillery on the same road, but closer to Frankfort, next to the distillery that later became Old Taylor.
When prohibition came, both distilleries were sold to the American Medicinal Spirits company, which was later merged with National Distillers Products Corporation.
Both Old Taylor and Old Crow came back after prohibition as part of National. The Taylor plant operated until 1972 and Old Crow operated until 1985, when National merged with Jim Beam. Both distilleries are still standing, but just barely.
George F. Berry succeeded his father as vice-president at W. A. Gaines. He was quite wealthy and also married well. In 1900 he built a Colonial Revival-style mansion in Frankfort that is today known as Berry Hill
. It is owned by the state and open to the public.