Kentucky’s Green River Distilling Is A Case Of What Is Old Is New Again

By Nino Kilgore-Marchetti / September 21, 2020

The brand known as Green River Distilling Co. has an interesting story in the annals of Kentucky Bourbon making history. Founded by one J.W. McCulloch back in 1885 (it operated for a bit under a different name prior to Green River) in Ownensboro, Kentucky, it is said it have once been”synonymous with quality and known for producing some of the finest bourbon in Kentucky.” It reportedly was also, at the time, the “most expensive spirit ever sold,” as 20 barrels were once traded for interest in a Colorado gold mine. 

At the height of Green River’s popularity, a fire broke out on the distillery grounds. In just three hours, most of the buildings and whiskey barrels were reduced to rubble. The rest of it was ripped down during Prohibition, and on its site a new distillery was later built. It never really recaptured that originally glory, however, and, in the following decades, passed hands on several occasions.

Green River Distilling Co.

Green River Distilling Co. (image via Green River Distilling Co.)

Fast forward to more recent times and, as a result of a purchase and restoration by Terressentia, best known for its patented TerrePURE process that’s designed to rapidly age spirits such as whiskey, the facility reopened for distilling and whiskey aging in 2016 under the name O. Z. Tyler Distillery.  It has now been decided to return to the root origins of the distillery’s site, and with this in mind, a rebranding to Green River Distilling Co. has been announced.

“Green River was known for making some of the finest whiskey in Kentucky,” said Jacob Call, Master Distiller of Green River Distilling Co. in a prepared statement. “We’re excited to be crafting bourbon and rye under the Green River flag again. As a third-generation distiller and seventh-generation Kentuckian, playing a role in reviving this historic distillery has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

The brand worked closely with John’s great-grandson Rob McCulloch to rename the distillery. McCulloch said, “I’ve always wanted the distillery’s name back at its original location in Owensboro. It completes the story my great-grandfather started in 1885.”

Now that DSP-KY-10 has returned to one of its storied older names, a limited release of its first whiskey under this brand, Green River 4 Year Kentucky Straight Bourbon, will be available in 2021.