Old Taylor Distillery

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Old Taylor Distillery

Unread postby bunghole » Mon Jan 24, 2005 12:37 am

Howie and I had just enough time before our class at Woodford Reserve to drive down to the Old Taylor Distillery. It was damn cold and it was all I could do to keep the camera from shaking.
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Unread postby bunghole » Mon Jan 24, 2005 12:43 am

Old Taylor Castle Side View
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Unread postby bunghole » Mon Jan 24, 2005 12:45 am

Warehouse In Ruins
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Unread postby Chris » Mon Jan 24, 2005 7:48 am

I remember driving by in 2001 to take some pictures of old taylor,... we pulled onto the shoulder of the road across the street from it and started taking pictures... about 2 minutes later we heard a really angry guy yelling running towards us... apparently he didn't want anyone around, i guess people were going inside looking for trouble... I wonder what his plans are for it...
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Unread postby bunghole » Mon Jan 24, 2005 11:04 am

Chris,

The owner has passed away. John Lipman had met him, and knows much more about it than I. There are no for sale signs.

:arrow: ima
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Unread postby BSS » Mon Jan 24, 2005 6:45 pm

If you were in the same area that that picture was taken, that was probably Mike Withrow. The son of Cecil Withrow, one of the part owners. Cecil died a while back and Mike lives in the white house back behind where that picture was taken. Cecil bought the place with another guy and had big plans for it, but nothing ever came of them. Mikes a good guy, and I know they do have problems with people trying snoop around on the property.
The two warehouses on the same side of the street, and directly to the left of where that picture was taken have been used by Wild Turkey. Other than that, the place just sits and waste away.
In the local paper about a month ago, in an unrelated article about Millville, it mentioned that a couple from Missouri or Okalahoma wanted to buy it and convert it to a tourist attraction. I personally don't think that will happen unless they start producing Bourbon again, which is very doubtfull. Not many people drive down that direction, and unless you have something a little extra to attract them(like a working distillery), they won't. However, I never thought anyone would open Woodford Reserve back up either.
Did you drive on down the road about a quater mile and check out Old Crow?
Theres a guy that lives here that has scrap books of Taylor and Crow from back in the good days. I'll try to get a hold of it and scan some of it. That place had some very interesting features, prior to the mid 70s.
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Unread postby cowdery » Mon Jan 24, 2005 7:20 pm

There is a young woman at UK who is working on her Masters degree in historic preservation. She is using as her project Old Taylor and has done the kind of research only a graduate student can justify, i.e., very thorough. We are in contact from time to time and I'm sure when she's finished she'll be willing to share it with folks here who might be interested.

She has, among other things, quite a few photographs of the place under construction. I forget the dates, but she says it actually was built later than the dates usually reported, including in my book which was published before she discovered this.

Anyway, one thing we have talked about is whether or not that site could "make it" as a historic tourism site without being restored and certainly without resuming production, in the same way that ruined castles are popular tourism sites in Europe. Of all the old distilleries, that one would have the best chance, it part because although that road is not heavily traveled except by locals, it is convenient to Frankfort and Lexington.

You never can tell, of course, but I think if the place was cleaned up, given some facilities (parking, rest rooms, gift shop) and interpretive exhibits, some fresh paint, some landscaping, it could work.
- Chuck Cowdery

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Unread postby BSS » Mon Jan 24, 2005 8:39 pm

I agree that it could be a nice attraction, but it needs far more than some fresh paint. Most all of those buildings need major restoration. I can't think of how much it would cost to get that place is reasonable condition, but in my opinion, if your not selling some bourbon from there to make a profit, I don't see it as being a very good investment. I would really love for someone to fix it up(atleast the castle part), but its in sorry damn shape.
Has she ever told you how much she thinks it would cost to get the castle part, and the spring house in presentable condition?
Do you know where she got the photos of it?
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Unread postby cowdery » Tue Jan 25, 2005 2:05 pm

I believe the photos came primarily from the Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort.

I haven't spoken to her recently but I expect to hear from her when she finishes the project. She has talked about following it through, but graduate students always do.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think anyone believes we're looking at a private, for profit enterprise here. The only way it would work, and this is a long shot, would be if the state and other donors got involved.

One shame of it all is that National Distillers kept the place in pretty good shape between 1972, when they stopped distilling there, and 1987 when Jim Beam took over. In part this is because they continued to operate Old Crow, next door, and used the Taylor warehouses and possibly other facilities at Taylor, just not the stills. When I shot the documentary there in 1992, Crow looked worse than Taylor. In other words, most of the deterioration at Taylor has occurred in the last ten years.
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Unread postby jbohan » Wed Feb 23, 2005 4:17 pm

You can find nice bourbon decanters of the castle entrance at Old Taylor on eBay and other sites. They are great looking and usually are not very expensive.
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Unread postby BSS » Sat Mar 12, 2005 9:35 pm

Chuck,
This might be the type of program that could make something like your talking about happen. Its a long-shot, but might be worth a try.
http://transportation.ky.gov/Multimodal/TE.asp
I think the application has to be submitted by a local government or non-profit organization. Maybe the grad student could make this a part of her project. They do projects completely unrealated to roads and transportation.
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Unread postby bunghole » Wed Apr 20, 2005 11:58 am

Just thought I'd bump this thread up with a link to John Lipman's webpage on Old Crow & Old Taylor.

http://www.ellenjaye.com/ghosts.htm#top

:arrow: ima :wow:
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Unread postby Strayed » Wed Apr 20, 2005 10:58 pm

Thank you, Dr. Bunghole. I hope that will add to the interest in preserving this very important site in American whiskey history.

Both Linda & I are toasting you with a (small) glass from our only bottle of Cecil Withrow's Stone Castle bourbon. One hundred six (barrel) proof, unfiltered, uncut, just the way it was when Cecil let us sample it. Cecil has become a spirit himself now, but his family has bottled his whiskey. It is marketed in Japan, and Koji brought us a bottle a couple years ago. It's a beautiful bottle, and a familiar one. At least it is now. At the time we'd never seen a bottle like that before, but now we recognize it as the same bottle used for the "new" Michter's product.

In fact, BOTH of the "new" Michters' products. As you may know, the name Michter's (which never was the name of the distillery in Pennsylvania, only its retail outlet) was purchased by a bottler and is now used for two lines of rye whiskey, a straight bourbon whiskey, and an American whiskey that isn't bourbon. Personally, we find all of these products to be outstanding, but that's not the point. The point is the bourbon. Because the bourbon is (or at least once was), Cecil's. That whiskey was about five years old in 1999 when we first tasted it. About 7 when it was bottled for Japan. About 10 when it was bottled as Michter's.

Here is the "new" Michter's story, as seen on the website of the Kentucky Attorney General:

First of all, the current owner, which comes as no surprise to those of us who have always respected the outstanding product from this too-often overlooked company...
    Organization Number 0268348
    Name
    MICHTER'S AMERICAN WHISKEY CO.
    Company Type ASC - Assumed Name Corporation
    Status A - Active
    State KY
    File Date 7/22/2002
    Expiration Date 7/22/2007
    Principal Office
    1869 LORETTO RD.
    BARDSTOWN, KY 40004

    Incorporators and Initial Directors
    Director
    EVEN G. KULSVEEN
    Incorporator EVEN G. KULSVEEN
    Assumed Name of Status

    KENTUCKY BOURBON DISTILLERS, LTD. Active
Okay, so that explains the "Bardstown" on the current labels. But didn't they used to say "Lawrenceburg". Sure enough, Kentucky Bourbon Distillers bought the brand from... Why none other than
    Organization Number 0165558
    Name
    MICHTERS AMERICAN WHISKEY CO.
    Company Type ASC - Assumed Name Corporation
    Status I - Inactive
    State KY
    File Date 4/11/2000
    Expiration Date 4/11/2005
    Principal Office
    P. O. BOX 105
    LAWRENCEBURG, KY 40342

    Incorporators and Initial Directors
    Director
    JULIAN VAN WINKLE
    Incorporator DAVID M. ROTH
    Assumed Name of Status
    COMMONWEALTH DISTILLERY CO. Active
Well, I guess that underlines the quality we're dealing with here. And where do you suppose Julian got this whiskey?
    Organization Number 0336703
    Name
    MICHTERS AMERICAN DISTILLING CO.
    Company Type ASC - Assumed Name Corporation
    Status I - Inactive
    State KY
    File Date 11/24/1998
    Expiration Date 11/24/2003
    Principal Office
    4305 MCCRACKEN PIKE
    FRANKFORT, KY 40601

    Incorporators and Initial Directors
    Incorporator WILLIAM S. WATTS
    Assumed Name of Status
    OLD TAYLOR LAND COMPANY Inactive
    STONECASTLE PROPERTIES, INC. Active
    TAYLORTON WAREHOUSES, INC. Inactive


    Current Officers
    Sole Officer
    Michael Withrow

Who, I imagine, is the "MW" who intialled the "filled by" line on the label of our bottle.

So, here's to Cecil Whithrow, and to Mike, and to Julian Van Winkle, and to Even (and Drew) Kulsveen, and to Koji, and to Abe Bomberger, and to Michter's Jug House, and to Linn & Vickie, and to this whole, wonderful, crazy business that ties all of these folks together.

:discodance: :partyman::partyman: :discodance:
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Unread postby bunghole » Thu Apr 21, 2005 11:17 am

John one thing those of you that will be attending the spring sampler could do is to contact Mike Withrow for a friendly interview either by phone or in person.

Something I'd like to see is the inside of the stillhouse and also the fermenters and mash tun. I'd like to see the condition of the stills themselves. Also the general condition of the stillhouse itself is also of prime importance. John if you can get MW to agree this would be a perfect mission for your Fluzi Three!

Perhaps Amy Bennet would also make herself available to the BourbonEnthusiast crowd for more detailed intel on her research.

:arrow: ima :smilebox:
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