The History of Kentucky’s Derby Pie

April 22nd, 2015

Pie2Kentucky’s DERBY-PIE® is a blend of chocolate and walnuts on buttery and flaky crust. A long-standing Kentucky tradition, especially during the Kentucky Derby season, the DERBY-PIE®- in addition to a rich, flavorful recipe- has a rich history as well.



The DERBY-PIE® was created in 1950 by the Melrose Inn in Prospect, Kentucky. Ironically, the name didn’t have origins where you may think. The name “DERBY-PIE®” was actually chosen at random because the creating family members each had a different name for the creation. Legend has it the name was literally picked from a hat. Whether or not it was a derby hat, however, remains unknown.



A registered trademark of Kern’s Kitchen since 1968, the exact “DERBY-PIE®” recipe is kept secret, known only to Kern family members. Ever since, the trademark has constantly been renewed and federally registered, even though the Kerns sold the Melrose Inn in 1960. The company continues to make DERBY-PIE® to this day, even as the ownership of the business changed hands to the Kern’s grandson in 1973.



The trademark has been diligently defended, including going after various cookbooks with similar pie recipes. And once you taste the original DERBY-PIE® the differences are obvious. It is clear why the recipe is so diligently guarded and why it has been enjoyed for 65 years.

Written by Laura Oberle

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