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  1. #1
    Bourbonian of the Year 2004 and Guru
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Nelson County, Kentucky

    Old Taylor Distillery...

    I always give credit, to my source but this article has little information (cut away) about the newspaper it came from. I will assume the Lexington Herald? The photographer was Joseph Rey Au

    Old Taylor Distillery comming alive with renovation plans.

    VERSAILLES--In a remote Woodford County valley, adjacent to a spring, whiskey is in the air.

    The Old Tayor Distillery property is being renovated into an arts and crafts mall, a spring water operation and a bourbon distillery.

    When you think of an old distillery you just don't quite think of a place like this, said Cecil Withrow, a partner in Stone Castle Properties inc. which is remodeling the 1.5 million square feet of building speace on McCrakern Pike in Versailles.

    The site got its name from the stone castle that sits at the front of the property. Built in 1887 of Tyrone limestone, the structure was used by National Distilleries for actual distillery operations from the early 1930's until 1972. Withrow worked for National Distilleries for 10 years.

    In 1986, the company was bought by Jim Beam Distilleries which stored and aged bourbon whiskey there until 1994, when the space was no longer needed. The property was put up for sale, and Withrow became interested.

    I just hated to see what was happening to it, he said. It was just excess baggage to them.

    So Withrow and business partner Robert Simms bought the property for $400,000.

    Withrow said the site is ideal for aging bourbon. Those houses age whiskey really well because of good air circulation and help the bourbon breathe, he said, pointing to two warehouses.

    Stone Castle Properties is planning an arts and crafts mall that will open Feb. 1 in the former bottling house. Also, spring water will be sold from the adjacent Bird's Eye Limestone Spring. And whiskey distilling will resume in the castle in the next two years.

    The whiskey will be aged in white oak barrels for four years, and it will be bottled one barrel at at time and hand-labeled with proof numbers. Under no circumstances, Withrow said, will barrels of bourbon be mixed.

    Stone Castle is trying to cash in on part of the super-premium bourbon market--brands costing $20 or more for a 750-milliliter bottle. Although sales of distilled spirits in general have declined about 20 percent in the last decade, sales of these higher priced brands have increased, according to the Distilled Sprits Council of the United States.

    Stone Castle plans to produce 5,000 cases a year, Withrow said, we'll be happy. Real Happy.

    Stone Castle is not the first company to renovate a dormant distillery in Woodford Conty. Louisville based Brown-Forman Corp. is putting the finishing touches on its two year, $6.5 million renovation of the Labrot & Graham Distllery, which has been idle almost 35 years. It is scheduled for completion this summer.

    Old Taylor is one of the many distilleries that my family of Beams worked at. I wonder what happened?...

    Bettye Jo
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