In January 2015, Brown-Forman’s Marianne Barnes was named to Forbes magazine’s “30 Under 30” in food and drink. At 28 years old she was recognized as one of the highest ranking women in the bourbon industry and was on track to one day replace Chris Morris as the Woodford Reserve master distiller. Well, the industry took notice and two Kentucky entrepreneurs, Will Arvin and Wesley Murry apparently made her an offer she could not refuse. Barnes has accepted the position of Master Distiller at the former “Old Taylor Distillery Company” near Frankfort, Kentucky.
Arvin and Murry bought the 83 acre property and distillery in May of 2014 for $950,000. The two plan to invest $6 million to bring the distillery back to life. The distillery was built in 1887 and has been essentially abandoned since 1972. The distillery was about 100 years ahead of it’s time with it’s castle like design as a top notch distillery and as a destination for visitors. Much of the equipment is salvageable and the two hope to be distilling as soon as possible. They plan to be ready for their first visitors in the spring of 2016.
One of their early tasks for this new trio will be to come up with a new name for the distillery. Buffalo Trace purchased the E.H. Taylor brand and inventory back in 2009. In the meantime, you can take a walk down memory lane and check out some of these photo’s of the abandoned distillery. It’s easy to see why Arvin and Murry fell in love with this property. It’s fascinating to look at these beautiful photo’s and imagine what life was like there in the 1800’s. Be sure to take a close look at the fifty plus year old “Daily Distillers Report” signed February 1962.
Cheers to Will, Wesley and Marianne on their new adventure!