Tuesday, September 15, 2020

O. Z. Tyler Is Now Green River Distilling Co. (Again)

The distillery on the west side of Owensboro has had many names. One of the first was Green River, a name originally given to a distillery on the nearby Green River, a tributary of the Ohio. That distillery, established in 1885, was owned by John W. McCulloch, who had worked there as the 'government man' (i.e., internal revenue agent) before buying it. In about 1900, he moved the distillery to its current location for access to the Louisville, Henderson & St. Louis Railroad line, but he kept the Green River name.

The Green River brand became famous for its advertising slogan, “The Whiskey Without a Headache.” With new rules post-Prohibition, that slogan was barred. Its replacement, “The Whiskey Without Regrets,” though arguably more evocative, never had the same zing and the brand declined. 

But now the slogan is back, in huge letters on the side of one of the distillery's brick maturation warehouses.

The name change is being unveiled today.

Green River Distilling Co. is owned by Terressentia, which bought it from CL Financial in 2014. They renovated the distillery, which had been dark since 1992, and named it O. Z. Tyler after the company's founder. Distilling resumed there in 2016. The master distiller, then and now, is Jacob Call, whose family has deep roots in bourbon-making. Both his father and grandfather worked at Jim Beam.

“Green River was known for making some of the finest whiskey in Kentucky," said Call. "We’re excited to be crafting bourbon and rye under the Green River flag again. As a third-generation distiller and seventh-generation Kentuckian, playing a role in reviving this historic distillery has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Terressentia is best known as developer of the TerraPURE rapid aging process. However, the bourbon and rye that will be sold under the Green River name will not use TerraPURE, according to distillery sources. Both whiskeys will be traditionally aged for a minimum of four years. A limited release of Green River Kentucky Straight Bourbon will be available in 2021. For more information, visit the distillery's web site.

Rob McCulloch, great-grandson of Green River's founder, worked closely with Terressentia CEO Simon Burch to rename the distillery. “I’ve always wanted the distillery’s name back at its original location in Owensboro," said McCulloch. "It completes the story my great-grandfather started in 1885.”

“We’re so grateful to Rob for sharing his family’s legacy with us and it’s a privilege to continue to build on the legacy that John McCulloch created," said Burch.  

Green River Distilling Co. is the westernmost point on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. 


Brian (AKA The Dean) said...

Well, if they aren't using the TerraPURE process at this facility, I may try something coming from that distillery.

I've given TerraPURE products two tries now, and I won't knowingly give it a third. Really horrid stuff. And this coming from a guy who likes the vast majority of bourbon he's tried.

Chuck Cowdery said...

As I understand it, they are still using the process at the distillery on some of their distillate but they aren't using it for any of the whiskey they intend to sell as Green River, so if you stick to their Green River-branded products (out next year) you should be safe.

Brian (AKA The Dean) said...

Thanks, Chuck. Depending on the price,availability and reviews from trusted sources, I might give Green River a shot. But I admit, I have my doubts about trusting the palate of any distiller who thinks the TerraPURE products are good enough to bottle and sell.

Chuck Cowdery said...

If it's any consolation, that's not Mr. Call's call. He makes the whiskey and puts it in barrels. He doesn't control what the company does with it after that.