On Wednesday, Silver Trail Distillery announced that it has joined the legendary ranks of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, the Commonwealth’s leading voice on spirits issues for more than 130 years.
“It’s taken years and a lot of hard work to realize his dream, but Spencer Balentine has persevered and brought distilling back to the Land Between the Lakes region for the first time in a century,” said Jeff Conder, Chairman of the KDA Board of Directors and Vice President of Americas Operations for Beam, Inc. “We are proud to welcome him to the KDA and congratulate him on his efforts.”
Silver Trail, located in dry Marshall County in far Western Kentucky, opened in 2011. Balentine, a former champion motorcyclist and aspiring screenwriter, toured Maker’s Mark Distillery several years ago and decided to get into the spirits business based on his family’s colorful moonshine past.
His distillery’s still is a recreation of one originally designed by his great uncle in 1947. His first product is 100-proof “LBL Most Wanted Moonshine,” packaged in ring-handled jugs. He has plans for an apple pie moonshine to be called “Apple Cin.”
“It’s a distinct honor for Silver Trail to be accepted into such a historic organization that represents the finest distilleries in the world,” Balentine said. “This has only added to my determination to showcase our proud Between the Rivers heritage.”
Silver Trail becomes KDA’s 12th member and the sixth Kentucky craft distillery to join.
The KDA is a non-profit trade association founded in 1880. Members include Beam Inc. (Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark), Brown-Forman, Diageo North America, Four Roses, Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc., and Wild Turkey. Craft distillery members include Alltech, Barrel House Distilling Co., MB Roland Distillery, Limestone Branch Distillery and Corsair Artisan Distillery.
The KDA’s craft membership is available to licensed Kentucky distillers that maintain an inventory of less than 25,000 barrels of distilled beverage spirits, according to KDA President Eric Gregory.
“Our craft members are an important part of our organization,” Gregory said. “As small businesses, they often bring a different perspective on issues that affect our industry. We now have operating distilleries of all sizes in almost every corner of the state.”