View Full Version : request for help with this noble undertaking - my Bourbon Map

06-06-2008, 08:54
This is my first post. Hello from Northern Virginia. I am a cartographer (I make maps). I also love bourbon! I'm glad to have found this place. I am working on a map titled "American Bourbon Distilleries." I'm making this map for fun but maybe I'll try and get it published.

I've had other cartographers review it but I want some bourbon drinkers to have a look at it to check the content.

The map shows bourbon distilleries in Ky, and the founding dates of those distilleries.
- This is the main thing I seek advice on - which distilleries I should include? It's an interesting concept how many brands of alcohol are owned by one big company (go look at Budweiser's list of brews for example or Bacardi) including several of the bourbon makers (Heaven Hill, Jim Beam).
- I am having trouble defining the difference, and choosing between the actual distillery and the corporate owner (Ex: Woodford Reserve is made in Versailles, but is owned by Brown-Forman in Louisville).

I would like help finalizing and improving this list:

Barton Brands, 1876, Bardstown
Buffalo Trace,1857, Frankfort
Four Roses,1888, Lawrenceburg
Heaven Hill,1935, Bardstown
Jim Beam,1795, Clermont
Ky. Bourbon Distillers,1935, Bardstown
Maker's Mark,1840, Loretto
Old Rip Van Winkle,1872 , Louisville
Wild Turkey,1855, Lawarenceburg
Woodford Reserve,1812, Versailles

- Additions to the list? Changes? Let me know what you think!

I'd appreciate any additional feedback you'd like to give about the map, have a spelled something wrong? Put something not quite where it really is? Think I should include any other features on the map? THANKS!

I'm taking it today to a printer to do a full sized test to check the colors, its hard to tell just how something will look until you get a hard copy.


Justin Procopio

*this map is considered copyrighted material*
Sorry the resolution is bad, its not really that blurry

Tom Troland
06-06-2008, 09:39
Yours in an interesting project, but many of your dates are nearly fictitious. Indeed, with all the changes in ownership over the years and renovations of distilleries, it is very difficult to associate unique dates with most of the present day producers. For example, Makers Mark bourbon was developed in the 1950s. Whatever happened in 1840 in Loretto had nothing to do with the present company, distillery or product. Realistically, there is nothing about a bottle of Jim Beam that can be traced back to 1795 other than the family name. And some “distilleries” produce no booze at all. For example, Kentucky Bourbon Distillers does not distill (although they might in the future). Instead, they sell bourbon, often very good bourbon, that they have purchased from others.

Bourbon history is beset by hype, especially the history that bourbon producers place on their websites and labels. Yet there is some truth to be found out there, too. For example, the Buffalo Trace Distillery really has been making whisky since the middle nineteenth century, as far as I can tell. But the distillery has had many names and brands over the years. Bourbon history is a tough nut to crack. This sounds like a job for Chuck Cowdrey.

Tom Troland
06-06-2008, 09:45
Sorry, "Yours IS an interesting project..." (If you're lookin' for typos, you found the right place!)

06-06-2008, 09:52
Jim Beam has a second distillery in Boston, which is about midway between Bardstown and Elizabethtown.

Brown-Forman has a distillery in Louisville, where they make Old Forester.

And Tom is right about those dates - most of them have little or no foundation in reality.

06-06-2008, 10:00
Well, I hate to nit pick (okay, some of it is not nit picking)

-There was never any distillery called Old Rip Van Winkle, in Louisville or any other place that I know of. There was the Commonwealth Distillery (aka Hoffman Distilling Co.) in Lawrenceburg, KY, but it wasn't an active distillery at the time, just bottling.
-Jim Beam has a second operating distillery in Boston, KY (the Booker Noe Distillery)
-Heaven Hills operating distillery is in Louisville and is known as the Bernhiem Distillery
-You missed the Old Forester distillery in Louisville (this may actually be called the Early Times distillery...the phone book lists it as that, but it is also known as the Brown Forman Distillery)
-I'm not sure the distillery labeled Wild Turkey has ever been called that, that may be what they produce, but I believe the proper name (and I'm sure someone will correct me) is the Boulevard Distillery
-I have the Ky Bourbon Distillers listed as the Willett Distilling Co. (however it should be noted that they have yet to resume distilling...but soon I hope)

It may also be cool to list some of the currently silent distilleries
Stitzel-Weller in Louisville, KY
Old Taylor, Woodford Co. Ky
The Charles Medley Distilling Co. Owensboro, KY (said to be distilling again later this year)

The Old Grand Dad distillery in Frankfort, KY is currently used as a bottling house by Beam.

The Glenmore Distillery in Owensboro, KY is also now just a bottling house for Barton.

Sorry about the long list..hopefully you can do something with all this info.

06-06-2008, 10:23
Justin I think it's a neat idea and that's a very attractive piece of work. I suggest you add as many distilleries as you want and any date that seems appropriate. It's your map.

06-06-2008, 12:31
The sign on Dixie Highway says "Early Times".

This maps seems to be made from the dates the companies claim they started and their current addresses. I think he's pinned the Old Rip van Winkle mailing address. The Four Roses distillery was built after prohibition, wasn't it?

If the intent is a map of current distilleries, I'd drop the dates and confirm that there are, in fact, distilleries at those locations. If it is current and past distilleries, which would be a lot of fun, then there's a LOT of homework to do!

06-06-2008, 12:52
Some very helpful information so far.

Yes, I have been trying to stick to the dates the makers claim as their founding dates. Who's to argue with them? Plus it adds marketability to the map.

Howerver, I would like to include as many actual distilleries as possible. Keep the suggestions coming as I sort through all of this.

- I will be adding most of these soon.

- I had already thought to contact Mr. Cowdrey as some of his articles were my original sources and inspiration for this map.

06-06-2008, 14:29
Is it just me or is the inset map of Kentucky squished...it looks very flat.

06-06-2008, 14:32
Who's to argue with them?

We do it all the time.

Plus it adds marketability to the map.

What's our cut?

06-07-2008, 07:47
You might find the database to Cecil's book that I did handy to locate and name distilleries. It was meant as a companion, but it may be of use without the book.

You can download it here (http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8339&highlight=cecil). Please note the database is on the second sheet, accessed via the tabs at the bottom.


06-07-2008, 09:08
I have a book "The Spirit of Kentucky"...It has a map in it. The link is here---> http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showpost.php?p=80837&postcount=1

06-07-2008, 14:27
A typically generous gesture from a person very connected to the traditions of bourbon whiskey, thanks, Bettye Jo.

I was interested to note an oil derrick or two on the map and wonder if oil is still extracted today in Kentucky.


Dr. François
06-08-2008, 11:51
I was interested to note an oil derrick or two on the map and wonder if oil is still extracted today in Kentucky.



I think the "Kentucky oil" is added to Jim Beam Rye as a texture enhancer. :puke:

06-08-2008, 13:13
Yes, you can look at it that way. :) A number of bourbons, too, have a touch of (corn) oil in the palate and this can improve the taste - and body - unless the oiliness is too strong.


06-08-2008, 18:23
I was interested to note an oil derrick or two on the map and wonder if oil is still extracted today in Kentucky.

I'm no authority on this but I believe the last new wells were drilled in the 1960s.

On the property of a Mr. Clampett.

06-08-2008, 18:48
A typically generous gesture from a person very connected to the traditions of bourbon whiskey, thanks, Bettye Jo.

I was interested to note an oil derrick or two on the map and wonder if oil is still extracted today in Kentucky.


Actally, they still drill for oil around here. The one that comes to mind is in a corn field near Sonora :grin: :grin:

06-09-2008, 04:27
I'd like to see one of those old derricks in Kentucky! I wonder if there is any exploration still being done there.


06-09-2008, 04:31
I was surprised when I first started driving around the Midwest how many small oil wells there are. Southern Illinois has them scattered about. I don't recall seeing any in Kentucky, but it wouldn't surprise me.

You know those novelty drinking birds that sit beside a glass of water and keep dipping down to drink? That's what most of these oil rigs look like, only much larger, and with giant counterweights instead of the glass bulb at the bottom.

11-10-2008, 10:06
Check out Wikimapia:

This has a bunch on the map, and the cool part is...since it's a wiki...any of you guys can add to it. Just make sure to add the "distillery" tag to the site.


11-12-2008, 05:19
I added a couple of distilleries to the wikimapia map that I linked to above (Stitzel-Weller, Early Times, Buffalo Springs). I know It's missing Bernheim, Maker's Mark, and Jim Beam Boston, as well as any number of abandoned distilleries. I've never been to any of these, so I don't know exactly where they are. Good luck with the project!