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boone

Old Taylor Distillery...

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boone

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?...

grin.gifgrin.gif Bettye Jo grin.gifgrin.gif

post-20-14489811376012_thumb.jpg

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BSS

I live about a mile from Old Taylor and Old Crow. Cecil Withrow died a few years ago. The only thing that goes on at Taylor is that Jim Beam uses one of the warehouses. Other than that its just a decaying old distillery. From what I know they never distilled or aged any bourbon. They did have a little trinket place in one of the buildings for a small time, but that was probably 5-10 years ago. If you all have never drove by it, you should.

The main building doesn't look like that anymore either. It has vines growing all over it, the distillery is really dreary and almost eriee.

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bobbyc

I saw some time back a Rest in Peace to Cecil Withrow on the message board that is on the other side of SB.com. So is it going to happen or did the dream die with Cecil?

In Bluegrass Belles and Bourbon there is a splendid picture of the inside of the springhouse. I'd buy a gallon of their water for that alone.

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cowdery

The Old Taylor springhouse as it appeared in 1992, from "Made and Bottled in Kentucky."

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boone

Sounds to me by BSS's description, the dream died. That's sad. That was alot of money to spend for a little gift shop. My grandfather, Harry Beam worked there for awhile.

Nearly the same thing happened with Michters in PA. At one time it was the oldest distillery in the United States. Big amounts were spent to make a come-back, but the dream seemed to die before it got off the ground.

Uncle Everett, retired from Michters (40+ years). The Pot Still that Uncle Everett developed for Michters, still survives. John Ed Beam, one of the new owner's of the still, took a lot of folks over to see it during the Bourbon Festival.

grin.gifgrin.gif Bettye Jo grin.gifgrin.gif

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BERNCOW

hey I've talked to Mike, Cecil's son, and even though 1 warehouse has fallen down and the other brick warehouse may follow the other one soon since it has lost all its gutters-you can have Robert's 75% share of ownership for a pittance- $750,000. But, I guess you could still bottle your own water.

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BSS

As in Robert who? I was wondering who the other guy was. Im surprised Mike and his mom(i think she use to be a real estate agent) doesn't try to sell their 25%. They could do a ton with 250K. How did you end up talking to Mike anyways? I know his name and # are on the no trespassing signs all around the place.

They have a few pallets stacked full of bricks right beside the road from the fallen warehouse. I've always thought it would be sorta cool to build a shed/barn with them and use the windows and shudders that are laying in the rubble.

That place is getting in really bad shape, when it warms up a little I'll go take some pics of Old Taylor and Crow then post them on here.

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gr8erdane

They have a few pallets stacked full of bricks right beside the road from the fallen warehouse. I've always thought it would be sorta cool to build a shed/barn with them and use the windows and shudders that are laying in the rubble.

Shed or barn? I think it would be poetic justice to build a bar with the stones from a distillery warehouse.

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cowdery

That place is getting in really bad shape.

What a shame. When I was there in 91-92 it was amazing how it had been left. Taylor had a visitor's center with exhibits about the history and the bourbon-making process. Everything was still there, albiet in a bad state of disrepair. They had a "hall of fame" saluting various industry leaders. All of it was just sitting there, gathering dust and worse.

Taylor essentially closed down in 1972. Crow operated until 1987. Apparently, all Jim Beam did was strip out all the copper, which has a resale value, and continue to use whatever warehouses were still functional. Everything else they just let go to pot, and not in a good way.

At that time (1991-92) there were still a few National Distillers folks on the payroll and they were just sick about the fact that Beam didn't care a lick about any of the heritage in those facilities, Old Grand-Dad in Frankfort included.

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brendaj

Chuck,

Beam didn't care a lick about any of the heritage in those facilities, Old Grand-Dad in Frankfort included.

This reminds me of the way of the way Pappy Van Winkle's 1849 Room (a room devoted to documenting the company's history) was treated after Stizel Weller was sold.

It all hit the dumpster.

Sally Van Winkle talks about it in her book. it's sad that the corporate mindset, with all the brain power at it's disposal, can be so damn dumb. I grew up smelling Stizel Weller.

Bj

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LeNell

When I personally see old buildings go down like that...I just get all quiet. I'm a bit of a softee for stuff like that. It's a shame...it breaks my heart to hear of such. When I read Sally's book, it really touched me emotionally. Just a shame to see such history be discarded, but we do that sort of thing all over this country and it ain't always "corporate" but seems to often be. I've seen beautiful old buildings get ripped down by city officials, too.

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brendaj

I've seen beautiful old buildings get ripped down by city officials, too.

Yeah, me too. But not in Bardstown. Bardstown is very conscious of history. A couple of years ago, we had a fella that owned property on Flaget (Across from Spalding Hall) have to fight to tear down his building. I mean, literally square off with police.

I also remember probably 20 years ago, Booker Noe was having his home sandblasted/cleaned and repairing stuff. Something he did, didn't meet with the approval of the Historical Review Board and there were police involved.

The historian came and told the crew to stop work. The crew was more afraid of Booker then they were David... smirk.gif, so they refused. They went to jail.

Needless to say, when Booker returned, he immediately handled the situation... lol.giflol.gif By all accounts I heard, he was not a happy man. Said when he hit the door...you knew he was there. lol.gif The men were immediately released from jail, Booker finished his repairs, and the story ended peacefully.

Just a funny story. Booker is a very nice man, and a Kentucky true gentleman.

Bj

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kitzg

The story you have was released by the Associated Press in January of 1997. Unfortunately, nothing happened! It is (was) a beautiful site but every time I go by there (well, I've only been by there a few times -- maybe last time was 6 months ago) I am amazed at how bad it looks.

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boone

Thanks Greg, I will write the needed information on it right now grin.gif

grin.gifgrin.gif Bettye Jo grin.gifgrin.gif

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