Bluegrass Distillers - Groundbreaking at the Elkwood Manor Farm

Bluegrass Distillers, a craft distillery in LexingtonKentucky was founded in 2013. What better way to celebrate your 10th Anniversary then with an $8 million groundbreaking for a new distillery that will increase your distillation capacity by 100-fold. And that is exactly what Bluegrass Distillers is doing.

Bluegrass Distillers announced the acquisition of the historic Elkwood Farm in Midway, Kentucky back in 2020. Their original plan called for going from their current level of about a half a barrel of bourbon a day to 20 barrels per day and opening by the fall of 2021. Well, a lot has happened over the last couple years between covid slowdowns, supply chain issues and an education on what it takes to expand one’s distillery to today. Over the last couple of years, the earlier plan has expanded to a much larger production distillery with room to grow and larger storage facilities to age all that bourbon and rye whiskey that will soon be flowing.

The new $8 million distillery will feature six 18,000-gallon fermentation tanks that will feed a 36” x 45-foot-tall column still manufactured by Specific Mechanical. The distillery will be built a few hundred yards from the Elkwood Farm mansion, a home that was placed on the National Historic Register in 1994. According to the historic records, the 5,950 square foot home built in 1835 was likely designed by Gideon Shryock, Kentucky’s first professional architect. One of Shryock’s most famous buildings is Kentucky’s Old State Capital in Frankfort. In 1824 Kentucky’s original state house burned down. In 1827 the state legislature chose Gideon Shryock to design a new state capital. The Old State Capital still stands today in downtown Frankfort about 17 miles away from Elkwood Farm.

Bluegrass has been utilizing the property for growing their own heirloom blue corn last year. In fact, the first new structure built on the property was a new grain bin to hold the heirloom blue corn harvest used to make their bourbon.

When completed, the new Bluegrass Distillers’ Midway location will increase production capacity to about 20,000 barrels per year with room to add a second column in the future. The facility will also house offices, labs, tasting and event space and a bottling line. 

“We are thrilled to break ground on our new distillery in Midway,” said Bluegrass Distillers Co-Owner Sam Rock. “This new best of class facility will allow us to massively expand production of our spirits and grow our reach while creating jobs and contributing to the local economy.”

Rock added that he is originally from Woodford County and looks forward to building the new distillery in the county where he grew up.

To commemorate the groundbreaking, Bluegrass has announced the first ever release of Elkwood Reserve, a 9-year single barrel bourbon whiskey.

“Bluegrass has been distilling for nine years, and the release of Elkwood Reserve exemplifies the premium bourbons we will be showcasing with our complete grain-to-glass experience at Elkwood Farm,” added Co-Owner Ben Franzini. “Our team’s experience paired with the state-of-the-art equipment and facilities we are building will allow us to take everything we do to the next level.” This limited release product will be available at their Lexington, Kentucky gift shop.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear was also in attendance to celebrate the groundbreaking.

“The commonwealth’s bourbon industry is coming off its best ever year for growth in 2022, and it continues to gain momentum,” Beshear said. “Bluegrass Distillers is a homegrown company that was founded by Kentuckians, and today’s groundbreaking is a welcome addition to Midway and the Woodford County community. I want to thank the leaders of Bluegrass Distillers for their vision to grow in Kentucky and look forward to seeing their continued success in the coming years.”


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“Woodford County’s bourbon boom continues as we proudly welcome another world-class bourbon maker in Bluegrass Distillers,” Woodford County Judge/Executive James Kay said. “No place compares to Woodford County’s support for the jobs, tourism and opportunity created by the best crafted bourbon. We are proud to support our native son Sam Rock, Bluegrass Distillers and its wonderful family of employees. Bluegrass Distillers is creating a uniquely Woodford bourbon and experience in Midway that will provide jobs, economic opportunity and enjoyment for years to come. It is a great day for the bourbon industry, Woodford County and all of Kentucky.”

“We are thrilled to have Bluegrass Distillers in Midway! They have already proven to be generous community partners who are committed to honoring the rich history of our small town,” Midway Mayor Stacy Thurman said. “Congratulations to their team on today’s much anticipated groundbreaking. We look forward to partnering with them in the years to come.”

Bluegrass Distillers’ investment and planned job creation furthers recent economic momentum in the commonwealth, as the state builds back stronger from the effects of the pandemic.

Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority Approves Tax Incentives

To encourage investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in September 2020 preliminarily approved the company for up to $50,000 in tax incentives through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA). KEIA allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing.

By meeting its annual targets over the agreement term, the company can be eligible to keep a portion of the new tax revenue it generates. The company may claim eligible incentives against its income tax liability and/or wage assessments.

In addition, Bluegrass Distillers can receive resources from Kentucky’s workforce service providers. Those include no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job-training incentives.

Bluegrass Distillery in Midway Kentucky Opening Fall 2023

Construction on the new distillery and barrel warehouse is set to begin in March. Once completed the project will create 22 full-time jobs for local residents. Bluegrass Distillers plans to open Elkwood Farm to visitors and begin production in the Fall of 2023. 

Related Stories
Bluegrass Distillers Announces $3.9 Million Expansion & Move to Historic Woodford County Farm
Bluegrass Distillers Revives Midway Distilling Co., A Pre-Prohibition Brand with a Line of Barrel Finished Rye Whiskies

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A Look Around Elkwood Farm, Midway, Kentucky.

Three Things to Do Nearby

While you are on the distillery trail there are plenty of other things to do, see and taste. Here are three things that are just minutes away.

Number One
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Distilleries: There are several distilleries nearby including Woodford Reserve Distillery, Glenns Creek Distillery and Castle & Key Distillery.

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Food: A warm welcome awaits at the Holly Hill Inn, a celebrated restaurant in the heart of Kentucky’s Bluegrass. Holly Hill Inn is owned by Ouita Michel, a James Beard Foundation nominee several times over, and her husband Chris Michel.

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Points of Interest: Weisenberger Mill has been “the bakers choice” since early 1865. Owned and operated for 6 generations by the Weisenberger family, the mill is nestled on banks of the South Elkhorn Creek, near Midway.

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