Hardin, Ky. – Silver Trail Distillery exploded in flames and was completely destroyed Friday April 24. 40-year-old Second Distiller Jay Rogers and his assistant 26-year-old Kyle Rogers were in the distillery at the time of the explosion and both were airlifted to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. Both men are believed to be badly burned but the extent of their injuries wasn’t clear. The owner, Spencer Balletine who lives nearby, was not in the distillery at the time of the explosion.
“It erupted in flames, and the distillery is a total loss,” said Marshall County Sheriff Kevin Byars.
WPSD is also reporting that the distillery had just secured a deal to provide moonshine for the George Jones Museum under the name White Lightning Moonshine. It had recently sent a shipment to the museum and was working on the rest of a large order. Ironically, the April 24 explosion date is also opening day of the George Jones Museum in downtown Nashville, TN. The opening coincides with the second anniversary of the country legend’s death who died on April 26, 2013.
“It’s taken years and a lot of hard work to realize his dream, but Spencer Balentine has persevered and brought distilling back to the Land Between the Lakes region for the first time in a century. We are proud to welcome him to the KDA and congratulate him on his efforts” said Jeff Conder, Chairman of the KDA Board of Directors and Vice President of Americas Operations for Beam, Inc.
Silver Trail, located in dry Marshall County in far Western Kentucky, opened in 2011 and joined the Kentucky Distillers Association in 2012 as the sixth craft distiller in the association. Silver Trail Distillery has a rich family history in the moonshine business going back to the 1800’s. Ballentine’s family was in the hills of Kentucky in an area known today as Land Between the Lakes – LBL. LBL is a United States National Recreation Area located in Kentucky and Tennessee between Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake. The area was originally known as Between the Rivers. It was designated a national recreation area by President John F. Kennedy back in 1963 and soon thereafter flooded to create the recreation area.