A Historic Kentucky Bourbon Family Is Set To Return To Making Whiskey - The Whiskey Wash

A Historic Kentucky Bourbon Family Is Set To Return To Making Whiskey

By Nino Marchetti / June 14, 2019

The name J.W. Dant means something to true aficionados of Kentucky bourbon lore. A long established lineage dating back well over a century, what we know of this name in more contemporary times is tied to a mostly bargain bourbon brand owned by Heaven Hill. The Dants are still around though, and now they are set to make what looks to be a major splash back into making Kentucky whiskey with freshly announced plans for a major distillery project.

What will be known as Log Still Distilling, according to those behind it, is a planned $12 million distillery project that’s being described as a campus that will be dropped on some acreage between the Kentucky towns of New Haven and New Hope. It will reportedly include a distillery, bottling operation, rickhouses and visitor’s center, which will offer a gift shop and tasting room. The property has a long history within Kentucky’s bourbon industry, as owner J.W. “Wally” Dant’s family has operated multiple distilling operations in the area since as early as the 19th century.

The Dant family’s ties to the community’s bourbon industry, it is said, date back to the 1800s, with the establishment of Joseph W. Dant’s first distilling operation under the J.W. Dant brand. The property in question where the new distillery will be located eventually housed a distillery owned by his sons in the early 20th century. The operation continued production until the implementation of prohibition in 1920. The family business reopened following the end of prohibition, eventually selling to United Distillers and Schenley. Production at the old distillery was relocated to Louisville in the early 1960s, and the J.W. Dant brand was sold to Heaven Hill Distilleries in the early 1990s.

A bourbon dump, like what will happen in the future at Log Still (image via KDA)

The plans for the new Dant family whiskey making facility were unveiled in conjunction with an announcement from Kentucky’s governor about it. He said of it that “the arrival of Log Still Distilling signals exciting growth in the industry and reintroduces the Dant family’s historic involvement in Kentucky’s long line of distilling operations.”

“We are very pleased to be back in our family distilling home,” said Wally Dant in a prepared statement. “Importantly, we want to thank the Governor and the commonwealth for assisting us in developing our project and ensuring our rich Dant family legacy. We need to further credit the J.W. Nalley family who preserved much of the former plant, which we will work to renovate into the new distillery.”

As Heaven Hill still owns the name to the J.W. Dant brand, I would likely expect we will not see any whiskeys tied to that specific name coming out from Log Still. That being said, it is exciting to see the return of old Kentucky families like the Dants to producing bourbon, especially in such a historic setting such as the property it is being planned for.