A rather interesting merger of two Kentucky whiskey players – one with historic roots and another considered by many to be one of the best of the up and coming of the next generation of distilleries from the Bluegrass State – has just been unveiled.
What we are talking about here is an announcement late this week about the acquisition of Green River Spirits Company and its assets by Bardstown Bourbon Company. The former, consisting of the historic Green River Distilling Co. in Owensboro, Kentucky, which is the 10th oldest distillery in the state, and a state-of-the-art spirits production facility in Charleston, South Carolina, marks a strategic play by the latter to create an even stronger independent spirits company with a commitment to Kentucky whiskey.
Green River Distilling, as we’ve chronicled over the years, is a case of what’s old in Kentucky whiskey is new again. A revived brand with a deep story, its Owensboro, Kentucky-based facility went through a purchase and restoration by Terressentia, best known for its patented TerrePURE process that’s designed to rapidly age spirits such as whiskey. It was reopened for more traditional distilling and whiskey aging in 2016 under the name O. Z. Tyler Distillery. This later followed with rebranding to its current name.
Bardstown Bourbon Company, meanwhile, started distilling in 2016 after being founded a few years prior and quickly established itself as a quality operation in the contract distilling market. They’ve also made a name for themselves via their own brand releases drawn from a mix of in-house distilled and sourced stocks, as well as offering up a very popular, self-described “Napa Valley-style destination on the famed Kentucky Bourbon Trail” that combines “distilling, culinary, and beverage expertise to create a modern, authentic bourbon experience.”
In a statement issued by Bardstown, this acquisition of Green River Spirits is seen as “positioning the combined business for continued growth in both Kentucky whiskey and custom distillation. Bringing together the historic legacy of Green River and the modern bourbon experience at Bardstown Bourbon Company provides an enticing and distinguished selection of Kentucky whiskey for bourbon drinkers and visitors.”
“We’re excited to forge this new partnership, which brings together two world-class teams and expands the breadth of our portfolio and the number of customers served,” said Mark Erwin, CEO of Bardstown Bourbon Company. “Bardstown Bourbon Company was founded to honor the traditions and history of Kentucky bourbon while taking a wholly modern approach. The addition of one of the oldest distilleries in Kentucky allows us to offer a comprehensive assortment that showcases the state’s flagship industry.”
The acquisition is scheduled to close this month, subject to customary closing approvals and conditions.
Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and...