All Nations Distillery - All Nations Joins the Kentucky Distillers' Association

All Nations Distillery in Lancaster, Garrard County, Kentucky has joined the Kentucky Distillers’ Association (KDA) the non-profit trade group that unites and leads Kentucky’s signature Bourbon and distilled spirits industry.

UPDATE 01/2024: All Nations Distillery has been renamed Garrard County Distilling Co.

A Distillery in a Dry County? Yes.

All Nations Distillery was founded in 2018 by Matt Shirah, its chief executive officer, and Ray Franklin, senior vice president. The Garrard County distillery is nestled among 230 picturesque acres near downtown Lancaster which is wet – allows the sale of alcohol – while the county is “dry.”

In fact, Garrard County was the birthplace of Carry A. Nation, an anti-alcohol advocate famous for using a hatchet to demolish taverns before Prohibition. Many saloons proudly displayed signs that read, “All nations welcome except Carry,” which is where the distillery took its name. 

Who is Carry A. Nation?

Carrie A Nation for Prohibition 2
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Carry A. Nation – A Six Foot Tall Joint Smasher

Accurately described as “A six foot tall stevedore with the face of a prison warden and the persistence of a tooth ache”, Kentucky born blue blood Mrs. Carry Amelia Moore Nation – aka ‘The Joint Smasher’ became a radical member of the Midwest temperance movement after losing her first husband to the bottle in 1869. Proudly describing herself as “A bulldog running at the feet of Jesus, barking at what he doesn’t like”; she was indeed that and many things more.

Carry A. Nation was born November 25, 1846 as Carry Amelia Moore on what is now called ‘Carry Nation Road’ in Lancaster, Kentucky. Nation died a few years prior to Prohibition on January 3, 1911.

Birthplace of Carry A. Nation

Birthplace of Carry A. Nation – With hatchet in hand, this famous Kentuckian harassed saloon owners across U.S. Four miles from here on Carry Nation Rd. is house where she was born, 1846; lived there five years and in other Ky. towns before moving west. After Kansas banned liquor, Carry began crusade there in 1899, smashing furniture, mirrors, bottles. Home on National Register of Historic Places. Over.

Lady with the Hatchet – Carry Nation gave direction to the antiliquor movement, which led to Prohibition, 1920-33. Driven by bitterness from first marriage to an alcoholic, she had “visions” which commanded militant pursuit of temperance. Carry’s methods put her in jail some 30 times. She died in 1911 and was buried in Belton, Mo. The words, “She hath done what she could,” engraved on her monument.

Historical Marker No. 1733 was dedicated on July 28, 1983.

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The distillery plans to celebrate the history of Carry Nation and has even restored her stone home on its grounds. Its “All Nations” brands include an 11-year rye, a Kentucky Straight Bourbon, a 6-year small batch and All Nations Prohibition Reserve, a marriage of a 15-year Kentucky Bourbon and 11-year rye. 

All Nations Distillery - All Nations CEO Matt Shirah
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All Nations Distillery CEO Matt Shirah.

“The All Nations team appreciates the KDA’s advocacy and welcomes the opportunity to work with other KDA members,” said Shirah. “Our team is focused on making positive contributions to Garrard County, the great Commonwealth of Kentucky, and the Kentucky distilling industry.“

KDA President Eric Gregory said All Nations offers a distinct perspective on the industry’s rich heritage by educating consumers and tourists about its Prohibition-era history. 

“They’re a great addition to the growing distillery presence along the U.S. 27 corridor,” Gregory said “On behalf of the KDA and its members, we thank All Nations for their investment in our beloved Commonwealth and proudly welcome them to our growing family of Kentucky’s finest distillers.”

All Nations Joins the Kentucky Distillers Association as a Class B Distiller

All Nations Distillery - Distillery Steel Structure Reaches 50' Into the Sky
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All Nations Distillery under construction in Lancaster, Kentucky.

A Class B licensed distiller, All Nations joins KDA as a Craft-level member aging less than 10,000 barrels a year and is part of a growing list of distilleries in the Bluegrass region including Wilderness Trail Distillery, Blue Rook Distillery and Kentucky Mountain Moonshine.

The distillery also is now eligible to apply to join the KDA’s Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour®, which the association created in 2012 as the nation’s first and only tourism attraction to showcase the flourishing artisan distilling movement.

Kentucky Bourbon Production and Tourism Growth

Bourbon production has skyrocketed more than 475% since the turn of the century. Kentucky now boasts more than 11.4 million barrels of Bourbon aging in warehouses across the Bluegrass, the most in its revered distilling history. Distillers filled more than 2.6 million barrels in 2021 alone, the fourth consecutive year that production topped 2 million.

Attendance at the KDA’s Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® distilleries has surged more than 300% in the last 10 years. Total attendance in 2021 was more than 1.5 million visits, just below the pre-COVID record of 1.7 million visits in 2019. 

Learn more about All Nations Distillery.
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