The Old Charles Medley Distillery is one of the oldest distilleries in Owensboro, KY dating back to 1885. The operation shut down almost two decades ago. The distillery was purchased in 2014 by TerrePURE®, owned by South Carolina-based Terressentia Corp., which creates spirits for various retailers by using a patented technology that uses ultrasonic energy and oxygenation to rapidly mature it.
On July 30, 2015 the company along with local and state officials broke ground on the re-birth of this long dormant distillery and changed its name to the O.Z. Tyler Distillery in memory of the co-inventor of the TerrePURE® maturation process.
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Distilling at this location since 1885
There has been a distillery on this site in Owensboro since 1885, then known as the “Green River Distillery.” The Green River Distillery unfortunately burned to the ground in 1918, just as the prohibition movement was gaining steam. Luckily, prohibition’s end in 1933 paved the way for the existing facility’s construction in 1936. In 1940 the Medley family purchased the facility and distilled fine whiskey until 1993.
In 2007 it was sold to Angostura and renamed “Charles Medley Distillers Kentucky,” after master distiller Charles Medley. Angostura started some renovations in 2008, but failed to bring it back into operating condition before their parent company, CL Financial, ran into some financial difficulties, forcing them to sell the property. As of May 5, 2014 Terressentia became the new owner of the Old Charles Medley Distillery.
Plans target a production capacity of around 2 million proof gallons of bourbon per year, though they will likely produce some other whiskey products as well. With seven aging warehouses on-site, each with a capacity of around 20,000 barrels, the facility has a lot of potential.
The company is investing $25 million to purchase and refurbish the nearly 80-year-old facility and will create up to 75 full-time jobs at the historic facility.
“This is an exciting time for our distilling industry and a historical milestone for Owensboro, and it is great to see historic facilities like this one coming back to life,” said Gov. Beshear. “I commend TerrePURE® on its investment and wish the company future success.”
TerrePURE® is renovating and repairing buildings on the 28-acre site, as well as installing new equipment. The company initially announced plans for the project in May 2014.
“We are extremely grateful to the Owensboro community and the Commonwealth of Kentucky for all they have done to encourage and welcome us, including tax and other incentives,” said Earl Hewlette, CEO of Terressentia Corp. “We have begun the local hiring process, and we anticipate adding approximately 50 to 75 jobs for the distillery operations once fully refurbished.”
“This new investment by TerrePURE® comes as wonderful news for our community,” said Sen. Joe Bowen, of Owensboro. “This has been called the ‘Golden Age’ for bourbon distilleries, and we could not be more excited to be awarded with 75 new jobs in Owensboro as a result of the industry’s success.”
“I applaud Gov. Beshear’s administration, TerrePURE® Kentucky Distillers, and all our local officials for working together to revitalize the Charles Medley Distillery,” said Rep. Tommy Thompson, of Owensboro. “This investment is a testament to the character of our community and the incredible work force we have to offer. The bourbon industry has had a tremendous economic impact on Kentucky, and I’m excited for the good paying jobs this will bring to Daviess County.”
State and Local Incentives
“During the celebration of Daviess County’s bicentennial, it is with great community pride that we welcome TerrePURE® to our community,” said Daviess County Judge-Executive Al Mattingly. “The investment in this property, which has such historic significance in the production of bourbon and the creation of new jobs, is recognized and appreciated by all of us in Daviess County. Our Fiscal Court approved the company for up to $200,000 from the Daviess County economic development incentive fund for the building remediation and repairs. We wish TerrePURE® all the success in the world!”
To encourage the investment and job creation in Daviess County, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $1.2 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the term of the agreement through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.
KEDFA also approved TerrePURE® for tax benefits up to $100,000 through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act, which allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing equipment.
In addition, TerrePURE® is eligible to receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies are eligible to receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives.