Monday, December 17, 2012

Where Are Kentucky's Distilleries?



View Kentucky Distilleries in a larger map

This map shows the location of every distillery in Kentucky, both craft and major producers. Red pins are micro-distilleries, blue pins are major distilleries, green pins are inactive distilleries. Click on the pin to see the name of the distillery and whether or not it is open to the public. Where available in Google Maps (and most are) the exact address is included, along with other listing information.

Many more inactive distilleries could be shown and a few may still be added. 'Inactive' means the distillery part of the operation is inactive; and not just inactive but demolished in most cases. The ones included are mostly all still owned by major producers and in use for other aspects of distilled spirits production, such as maturation or bottling. Another anomaly; the Four Roses maturation and bottling facility at Lotus, AKA Cox's Creek, is listed as a distillery even though no distillation is done there. That seemed preferable to 'inactive,' since there was never a distillery on that site.

It also seems unfair to green pin Heaven Hill in Bardstown, since it's their primary maturation site, bottling house, and corporate headquarters, but this is a distillery map and the distillery that was once there is gone, destroyed by fire in 1996. 

There are at least a half-dozen other sites in Kentucky, mostly around Bardstown, that were once distilleries but now only the warehouses remain. The sites are owned and used by the major distillers. The warehouses visible from the Four Roses Distillery in Lawrenceburg (you can see them on the map's satellite view) are actually owned by Wild Turkey. They were built as part of the Old Joe Distillery. Wild Turkey has another large cluster of warehouses in Nicholasville (Jessamine County), just across the road from the Camp Nelson Civil War Cemetery. That one is on the map, as a green pin.

Danville Road (US Rt 27) crosses the Kentucky River just south of there. The river at that point has created rocky bluffs on both sides. It's quite a view.

In the area around the Brown-Forman (blue pin) and Stitzel-Weller (green pin) sites, there were once a dozen or so other distilleries, including a massive Seagram's plant. Some have been demolished while some (including Seagram's) are more or less intact, but none are being used by distilled spirits producers except maybe Yellowstone, which was being used to distill blending spirits from citrus fruit.

As big as Kentucky's whiskey-making business is today, it was once so much bigger. The purpose of this map was mostly to show where the craft distilleries are in relationship to the major distilleries. A historic map of defunct distilleries would be a different project.

12 comments:

Doctor Tarr said...

I think Old Crow and Old Taylor would be useful additions. They are scenic and easily incorporated into a distillery driving tour.

Lexingtonian said...

Chuck screws the pooch again. The Barrel House gets mentioned, but they have only moonshine out right now. Meanwhile, he makes no mention of Town Branch, who have a single malt and a bourbon.

Chuck Cowdery said...

I'm happy to take suggestions. You don't have to be a dick about it.

David Roth said...

Thanks for this. It'll be handy when I finally make my way up to explore.

Colin said...

I have a trivia question for you, that is related to this post (and I do not yet know the answer): How many Kentucky bourbon brands are distilled in a distillery of the same name? Big and craft distilleries count, but the bourbon must currently be in release (not just aging) to qualify.

Chuck Cowdery said...

Jim Beam, Wild Turkey, Four Roses, Woodford Reserve, Buffalo Trace, and Maker's Mark are the obvious ones. There is a Heaven Hill brand, but it's mostly a Kentucky thing. Same with Barton. Hard to be definitive because, for example, while some people call Alltech's micro-distillery Town Branch, after its bourbon brand, that's not really the distillery's name.

Anonymous said...

Yeah-Chuck how dare you mistakenly leave out a new distillery on your free website that you update for fans...some people...

Lexingtonian said...

I think the real question is how he could have missed it, given the simply enormous amount of press it got in the press, including the whiskey press.

And let's be frank, Chuck -- if Town Branch had made a press release saying they were the only whiskey distillery in Lexington, I'm quite sure that if anyone were jumping down their throat about it, it would be YOU. You're the Bill O'Reilly of whiskey news.

Colin said...

Is Woodford Reserve's distillery technically "Labrot & Graham" or have they changed that? It was when I visited more than ten years ago. And to my knowledge, Corsair has not come out with a bourbon. I know very little about Pogue; is what is sold as Pogue produced at their distillery? It's not a condition of the question, they qualify as a brand with a same-name distillery; I am just curious.

Chuck Cowdery said...

Yes, Brown-Forman officially changed the name of its Versailles distillery to "Woodford Reserve Distillery, Labrot & Graham, proprietors." I know Corsair has a rye, not sure about a bourbon. As for Pogue, their distillery in Maysville is very new and very small, and none of the Pogue whiskey in stores was made there.

Initially, my intent in making this map was to put all of the KDA's craft distilleries onto a map so I could get a better feel for where they are. Then I decided to take it a little further. Then I decided to share it, for what it's worth. If anyone finds it wanting, it is easy enough to make one yourself.

Colin said...

No, no--I don't mean to be critical. I think this is fascinating: I like knowing where my whiskey comes from (and which stills) and it's sometimes hard to know. But this is very demystifying.

Keith said...

Most handy! Thanks for the effort. I am doing my best to chart out and identify all the old Louisville distilleries, many of which are still standing even if they aren't whiskey distilleries any more. The number of suspicious gate manners and security guards this has resulted in is substantial, as most of the old buildings are used for other things now and are not in the best part of town.

I was just at Corsair's Nashville distillery. They do not make any whiskey at their Bowling Green location; that's where they make the gin and vodka. Nashville is where they make the whiskey, in quite a nice little antique still. They don't have anything currently labeled as a bourbon, but I do enjoy their Triple Smoke, and their tiny size means they get to goof off and experiment a lot, and that has resulted in some interesting projects that might become part of the regular line.

Chuck -- if you've never seen the Michter's "Distillery" I highly recommend it. Off Dixie Highway down Wathen Ave (or Street) at the back end of one of the Brown-Forman locations. Seeing it makes the whole Michter's story just a little bit funnier.

-Keith, Teleport City