Just like a fine bourbon, crafting a bourbon brand from scratch takes time. Crafting a new bourbon brand on the grounds of one of the original bourbon barons, often referred to as the, “Father of the Modern Bourbon Industry” can take even more time.
The property historically known as, “The Old Taylor Distillery” located in Frankfort, Kentucky started operations in 1887. It was the first distillery in the United States to be built from the ground up as a showplace, a one of a kind destination that was equally focused on merchandising, branding and entertaining guests as it was on creating great spirits.
The Birth of Castle & Key Distillery
Similar to the way the bourbon business has ebbed and flowed over the last two centuries, the fortunes of this distillery has seen its ups and downs. To make a long story short, the distillery was shuttered in 1972 and left to decay. Over the years, mother nature eventually reclaimed the grounds and buildings until the property was purchased in May 2014 by investor group Peristyle LLC. The group led by entrepreneurs Will Arvin and Wes Murry had ambitious plans to revive and restore this historic distillery to its glory days.
Castle & Key Distillery – Master Distiller Marianne Eaves (Barnes) at the Peristyle.
The first, and as we now know, the most important move the two entrepreneurs made was the hiring of Marianne Eaves (Barnes) as their Master Distiller and partner in 2015. Marianne was trained as a Master Taster at another distillery and was hired to be the new Master Distiller at what is now known as Castle & Key Distillery. Over the last three years, Marianne has made a name for herself not only in distilling circles but in media circles in general.
Nearly as slowly as this distillery fell into disrepair, it feels like it has taken just as long to bring it back to life but that’s all about to change as the new Castle & Key Distillery has announced its official grand opening to the public.
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Castle & Key Distillery Grand Opening September 19, 2018
Castle & Key Distillery will be open to the public starting Wednesday, September 19th after more than four years of restoration. Guests will be able to explore the grounds including stops at the iconic Castle, Springhouse, warehouse, and gardens. Along the way, they’ll learn about the restoration, principled distilling process, and the entire distillery vision. Tours will end the experience with a tasting featuring Castle & Key cocktails made with their new Restoration Release Gin and Vodka. Sorry, you’ll still have to wait several years for their bourbon.
In addition to The Castle & Key Experience, a portion of the property will be open to those without reservations, free of charge. A quarter mile long Botanical Trail sits alongside picturesque Glenn’s Creek on the property grounds and serves as a self-guided walking path.
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