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closetbourbonlvr
12-19-2007, 13:27
As I said in a previous thread a friend of mine and I went by and saw the Old Taylor and Old Crow distillery this week. Old Crow of course is owned by Jim Beam and they still use the rackhouses for storage.

But as far as we can see Old Taylor remains unused except for lumber. I assume someone uses it for storage or they are stripping out the buildings and selling the old lumber.

I bring this up b/c we both were sad to see such a unique distillery going to crap. We questioned the reason for it not being restored.

Do you all know? Is it money? Owner not willing to part with it? As I said its in good enough shape that you can still see some of the original things that make it a beautiful place. I wonder what the potential for restoration is even if only a fraction of it. Maybe from the front entrance back to the first rack-house?

If you don't remember it check out the Old Taylor pics thread within this history section.

cowdery
12-20-2007, 15:56
Actually, Beam no longer owns either property. If they still have whiskey aging there, they are paying rent.

There has been talk about restoration, especially at Taylor, but nothing has come of it. It would be an expensive proposition to turn either or both into some kind of tourist attraction, either with or without an active distillery. It should increase our admiration for Brown-Forman that they took the plunge with Woodford Reserve.

One difference between Woodford and Taylor/Crow is their location. Even though they are on the same road, and it is a narrow windy road, the drive off the main drag to Woodford is surrounded by pretty horse farms while the drive to Taylor/Crow is ... not.

Even if you know your way around there, getting to Taylor/Crow can be tricky. I've gotten lost more than once and I've been there dozens of times. The neighborhood isn't all that pretty and even it ever did become a popular tourist site, it would be hard to widen and improve that road because of how much the valley narrows at that point.

The current owners of the Crow site are in the business of demolishing sites like that for salvage purposes. There is good money in vintage brick, for example. Who owns the Taylor site and what they might be planning to do with it is a little hazier. There were reports that Withrow had sold it, but he's still filing annual reports for "Stone Castle," so maybe he's not entirely out. There was a young UK grad student who was keeping a close eye on it as she was doing her dissertation about Taylor, but she finished school and moved on. Some other people in Frankfort, involved in historic preservation, were trying to keep their fingers in too, but if anything has happened there in the last two or three years I haven't heard about it.

closetbourbonlvr
12-20-2007, 16:17
When we went down there Monday Jim Beam still had trailers there and other vehicles.

Yeah I knew that any endeavor would be a costly one. It was more of a dream to even ask about its potential restoration. We did notice the Stone Castle signs.

You are certainly right on about its location. It was night and day between the two locations. WR was nice and bright with the sun up, but down in the valley by OT/OC it is dark and cold looking. My friend and I were kind of creeped at how dark it all looked. Expected zombie-like figures coming across the distillery heading home after a long days work.

I did think it would be nice if Brown-Forman did the restoration. They have deep pockets since they own such gold mines as Jack Daniels.

Thanks for the update though. It is sad. OT is especially unique and in its day beautiful.

cowdery
12-20-2007, 17:17
You're right. It would make a good location for a zombie movie: "The Bourbon Undead."

closetbourbonlvr
12-20-2007, 18:28
Brains...urrr ummm...bourbon...

sprocket
12-21-2007, 01:18
As closet's co-trespasser-to-be, I can' begin to tell you how sad the scene at OT was. It's such a beautiful piece of property and history, not just bourbon history, but American and KY history. There was a sign at one place for something like "Virgin Pine LLC" with all kinds of stacks of lumber and bricks, which makes me think that they might be salvaging those materials. I just read about an outfit that is tearing down old horse and tobacco farms to be used in building new McMansions... what a sad dismantling of history. I would hate to think that that marvelous distillery would be turned into the foyer of some home.

At the OT part with the castle I couldn't help but wonder about the pavilion and gazebo, it looks like the site was once a big tourist attraction. Now there are a few ponies that graze on the sight, the only sign of life.

But, you're right, cowdery... the location is not very scenic. It's actually dismal... foggy, lowrent, wet and muddy. There is a black... something... all over the trees and buildings. Not sure if it is from smoke, mold or what.

My hope is that as bourbon appreciation goes up so will interest in restoring distilleries. But a lot of history is lost forever before people realize what is there.

I noticed too that there was a sign at one of the buildings for an antique/craft mall which makes me think that someone tried to make something useful out of the site at one time.

Sad to see something like that going to ruin.

And closet is right, there are a lot of Jim Beam trucks at one of the sites, and we noticed a Jim Beam pickup truck with a security guard patrolling the site.

closetbourbonlvr
12-21-2007, 13:01
The black something was a mystery. Maybe its zombie residue.

Seriously I hope someone has that answer.

Gillman
12-21-2007, 13:19
Mold associated with barrel exhalations, been discussed here before. You can see it form on the inside of most corks within a few months of opening some bottles and even before opening in some cases.

closetbourbonlvr
12-21-2007, 19:21
Mold associated with barrel exhalations, been discussed here before. You can see it form on the inside of most corks within a few months of opening some bottles and even before opening in some cases.

I feel bad for the people working or living down there its everywhere.

cowdery
12-22-2007, 08:08
It's not really a problem. It's harmless and washes off with soap and water. All of the distilleries have it, and not just in Kentucky. It appears anywhere spirits are aged. Of course, down there it just adds to the overall doom and gloom of the place.

BSS
12-23-2007, 12:32
As far as I know, the Withrows no longer own their small share of any of the distillery buildings. Mike does own this part, (which you can buy your piece of the former Old Taylor property from him)

http://lbarmls.rapmls.com/scripts/mgrqispi.dll?APPNAME=Lexington&PRGNAME=MLSPropertyDetail&ARGUMENTS=-N463039968,-N151574,-N,-A,-N11984522

Its right behind the two warehouses they are almost finished tearing down (across from the castle).

A company has already torn most of the metal out of the actual distillery building at Crow.
I would expect them to move on to the older warehouses sometime in the future for the wood.
Yes, Beam still uses several of the warehouses at Crow.
The antique market was a venture of the Withrows probably back in the early-mid 90s.
Crow & Taylor are just as easy to find from US-60 as Woodford Reserve. For both you turn off 60 and take a right when you get to McCracken Pike/KY-1659.

Now don't you all hammer on the looks of Millville!

closetbourbonlvr
12-23-2007, 16:44
As far as I know, the Withrows no longer own their small share of any of the distillery buildings. Mike does own this part, (which you can buy your piece of the former Old Taylor property from him)

http://lbarmls.rapmls.com/scripts/mgrqispi.dll?APPNAME=Lexington&PRGNAME=MLSPropertyDetail&ARGUMENTS=-N463039968,-N151574,-N,-A,-N11984522

Its right behind the two warehouses they are almost finished tearing down (across from the castle).

A company has already torn most of the metal out of the actual distillery building at Crow.
I would expect them to move on to the older warehouses sometime in the future for the wood.
Yes, Beam still uses several of the warehouses at Crow.
The antique market was a venture of the Withrows probably back in the early-mid 90s.
Crow & Taylor are just as easy to find from US-60 as Woodford Reserve. For both you turn off 60 and take a right when you get to McCracken Pike/KY-1659.

Now don't you all hammer on the looks of Millville!

When we were poking around we saw that they were selling that side. Should have grabbed an old brick while we were there for sentiment.

saablover1996
12-28-2007, 09:59
goings on at Old Taylor . . . .

Sounds as though the owners at that time are planning on turning the place into a type of small-scale mixed-use convention center/hotel. Whether this is factual or something that is told to Preservationists, who can tell . . . .

As strange as this sounds, the Castle part of the complex is be turned into a banquet hall or meeting area. As of present, the castle is filled with newer aluminum fermentation vessels (that supposedly spelled the end for sales of the bourbon produced there.) I was told that these would be left in place and modified so that a glass or other transparent flooring material could be installed to highlight them.

The sunken gardens and covered pool areas are to be restored, while it is said that one or two of the newer reinforced concrete storage or againg buildings could be refitted as hotel space.

The state of preservation of many of the older brick warehouses are so decayed that they would most likely have to be pulled down and reconstructed to be able to be issued any type of permit for short-term habitation. Those that have fallen or are in the process of collapse are being demolished. Brick and lumber from the structures are being salvaged and sold.

As much as some (as I) would like to see the distillery reopen as a handcrafted small batch production facility like Labrot & Graham's Woodford Reserve Distillery--which might be the only type of business that could support the costs of reconstruction and refitting--the costs for preservation and adaptive reuse of the structures at Old Taylor would be staggering. Old Taylor's developers have to make the sometimes difficult decision of what to keep and what to remove in looking at the overall viability of the project.

If brough back to its "original" glory and exuberance as the showplace of distilling that it once was, it could easily be the No. 1 tour destination for Bourbon enthusiasts worldwide.

Rughi
12-28-2007, 11:05
Welcome "Saab" (I wish I could welcome you by name),

Thanks very much for your notes on the Taylor site. Several years ago, the Withrow family had these or similar goals, but the unfortunate passing of Cecil Withrow slowed or changed them. Is the information you were given recent? I really hope so, as this is a beautiful site with a rich history - and a very particular site that makes many possibilities infeasible.

Could you introduce yourself ( in the " New to Straightbourbon" forum)? It sounds like you may be a local and tapped into local goings-on.

Once again, welcome.

Roger

BSS
01-06-2008, 16:33
Saab,

I'm not too sure about your information. From what I know, all the "newer" fermentation vats were removed from the castle long ago. And newer would have to mean at the latest 30 years.

What and where is the covered pool you speak of? Are you talking about the spring house?

And I just don't know about converting the one concrete warehouse into hotel. Not so much because I don't think I can be done, but because it wouldn't be needed. The only accommodations that would be useful on that site would be some sort of bed and breakfast.

I would love to see it come back to life, but without some type of large corporate backing, I just don't think much can be done outside of maybe making the castle and administration building into a bed and breakfast, fixing the spring house and restoring the gardens adjacent to the castle. And I donít have too much hope for that.

closetbourbonlvr
01-06-2008, 19:50
Saab,

I would love to see it come back to life, but without some type of large corporate backing, I just don't think much can be done outside of maybe making the castle and administration building into a bed and breakfast, fixing the spring house and restoring the gardens adjacent to the castle. And I donít have too much hope for that.

I agree 100%. I am not sure if you all have seen it recently but its in very sad shape. Some form of structure is left that imagination can dream of its once beautiful structure but beyond that its in bad shape. Its restoration would have to come from another Brown-Forman like business that has the money but also could make a profit.

I agree with Cowdery when he said its location and other features would make it a hard sell as far as tourism. Then the other problem to deal with is if the new owners could make a profit to make it pay off like WR has for Brown-Forman.

BSS
01-07-2008, 10:29
Unfortunately I see it frequently. I’ve lived all my 29 years about a mile away from it, and can remember it when it was actually in good shape.

BSS
02-10-2008, 15:57
I noticed the other day that the demolisiton team at Taylor has moved across the street to the large concrete warehouse behind the castle. They have a rather large hole punched in the side of the building and it appears that they have started tearing it apart on the inside.

pepcycle
02-11-2008, 09:39
Please take some photos and post!!!

closetbourbonlvr
02-13-2008, 15:22
Please take some photos and post!!!

I am going to assume you found this thread but if not here are some Old Taylor Pics.

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7710

BSS
02-15-2008, 04:32
I think Ed is wanting pics of the hole in the wall of the concrete warehouse in the last pic in that link, not just general pics of Old Taylor.