Pulling this from the rye thread.
I don't think Vermont is in the picture any longer. Pickerell is now at Hillrock in New York as his primary interest. He may still have an interest in WP but the micro-distillery in Vermont is definitely not happening, much like the Angel's Envy microdistillery and several others. In fact, although several have talked about it, the only non-distiller producer who has actually put a micro-distillery into operation is Pogue.
Are you able to comment further on what has happened to the plans for the AE microdistillery and visitor center in downtown Louisville? At the Angel's Envy CS event last month it still seemed to be a go once they untangled all the bureaucratic red tape.
As always that can take a while of course.
I guess I subconsciously wanted somebody to ask me this, because I've been avoiding it. I like the Angel's Envy people and I think they've done a great job with the brand. I know the Hendersons want the distillery to happen. They, or some of them, may still honestly believe it will happen.
I no longer do.
Nothing in particular 'happened' to make me feel that way, just the passage of time. It's been talked about too long with nothing really happening. It clearly is not up to the Hendersons if it happens or not. At this point, the brand probably doesn't need it. The formula they have seems to be working. All a distillery would get them at this point is credibility with the hardcore, but they've transcended the hardcore.
When the non-distiller micros first started to appear, everybody had this story. They were coming out with this sourced product and starting a distillery, simultaneously, which would eventually take over and become the source. The singer changes but the song remains the same.
Arguably, the first one was Woodford Reserve. Not a micro, of course, a pretty big distillery and part of Brown-Forman. They did, in fact, start a distillery when they launched the brand, but they quickly abandoned the claim that they would eventually transition the product to 100% being from that source. One of the key players in that project was, of course, Lincoln Henderson. He was mainly responsible for making sure the whiskey each distillery produced was as similar to the other as possible.
Among the micros, Templeton played the game in 2005. They did build a distillery, which they have messed around with a little, but the only product they're selling is 100% from MGPI Indiana. They do have a real presence in Templeton, Iowa; they just don't make their whiskey there.
Michter's made a big show of their intention to build a micro-distillery and visitors center on Main Street ("Whiskey Row") in downtown Louisville. That announcement was made in July of 2011. They said it would be open in the Spring of 2013, but they've made almost no progress. The building itself has problems, but they knew about them is 2011. They did, in fact, buy a building. That's something, but so far it's the only thing.
Last April, Heaven Hill announced the "Evan Williams Experience" in downtown Louisville, in a building Heaven Hill has owned since the 1940s. It is scheduled to open this fall and no doubt will. It will include a demonstration distillery. Evan Williams is the third best-selling bourbon in the world, so this distillery will obviously have nothing to do with production. It will no doubt be Main Street's first micro-distillery and if you bet it will be the only one five years from now, you probably win that bet.
High West came out of the box a little hinky, which I now attribute to overzealous PR, but since has positioned itself solidly as both a micro-distiller and a purveyor of interesting sourced whiskeys, and never the twain shall meet. Others have done similar things. I respect everyone who does it honestly. That's all I ask.
The Pogues are a non-distiller producer. They are a genuine old Kentucky distilling family. They launched Old Pogue in 2004. They were never coy about who made the whiskey. They always discussed the family's desire to get back into distilling in some way. Last year, they joined the KDA as a micro-distillery member and started distilling at what was the family's home in Maysville, which was already a historic site occasionally open to the public. They currently offer tours Wednesday through Sunday at 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM, by appointment,, with a maximum of 15 people per tour.
My rule, and I'm not sure if Pogue is following it or not, is that for a micro-distillery to be legit as a working distillery, it has to operate at least during posted tourism hours. I use this as the standard because it was the standard at Michter's and is currently the standard for the new micro-distillery at Beam. Otherwise, the distillery is either a prop (i.e., Templeton) or strictly for experimental use (i.e., Buffalo Trace).
I don't criticize anyone who does not now follow that rule, because I just now made it up.
Somebody correct me, I'm under the impression the Pogues have actually brought their own make whisky to market, a young rye named Limestone Landing.
I don't know if they've actually brought it to market, but that's what they say the distillery is currently making. How is that pertinent?
Perfectly positively pertinent Chuck, don't be petulantly pedantic.
Thanks for the update. I am sorry to hear that Whiskey Row is off to a slow start at best and may never really reach a significant status. I really thought AE had a chance to make it, even if the whiskey they made was only a fraction of what they sold, rather like the HW model.
Maybe they will still be able to pull it off. I hope so!
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