The John A. Barry Distillery, later becoming the Old Poindexter distillery, is an abandoned brandy and bourbon distillery in Ekron, Kentucky. After closing, the property was sold to a railroad tank car cleaner.


History

In September 1883, Werden Archie formed the P.P. Archey and Company, 11 12 opening a brandy distillery 2 4 on the northern limits of Ekron a month later. 11 The plant was leased to Albert Barry, mayor of Cloverport 16 who commuted daily to the distillery via the Louisville & Nashville Railroad. 4 Local farmers sold apples, pears and peaches to the distillery.

Frank Thompson, a distillery foreman, was shot three times and killed by Werden Archie on October 31, 1895. 16 17 Thompson had been reportedly anxious over rumours that the distillery would close, but Archie, under instructions from Barry, continued to operate it. A dispute between Thompson and Archie caused a quarrel which ended in the shooting.

With Archie jailed for the murder, the P.P. Archey distillery was closed and put up for sale. 7 In July 1900, the distillery was reopened by Barry who planned to operate it as soon as the fruit season would permit. The brandy distillery incorporated as the John A. Barry Distillery on June 27, 1934. 5

An advertisement for the John A. Barry Distillery from the Courier-Journal on December 8, 1934.

A new four-story barrelhouse, designed by Walter C. Wagner, was constructed in 1936. 14 The warehouse measured 70-feet × 90-feet and boasted a capacity of 5,000 barrels.

The John A. Barry Distillery went into bankruptcy on September 4, 1937. 15

Old Poindexter Distillery

John A. Barry Distillery was acquired by the Franklin County Distillery on April 6, 1944. 8 Old Poindexter was formed as the Franklin County Distillery in Franklin County in 1933. 9 Upon relocation, the company changed its name to Old Poindexter Distillery.

Old Poindexter was unusual in that the firm used 60% corn and 40% small grain as opposed to 70% to 72% corn used by others. 2 Unmalted barley was added into the mix. The company produced two labels: Old Poindexter, a five-year-old bottled-in-bond, and Old Barry, a three-year-old whiskey. 9

The company announced on August 26, 1948 17 that it planned to cease operations of its distillery. 9 At the time, the operation was rated for a grain mashing capacity of 1,350 bushels daily, boasted four warehouses that could hold 80,000 barrels, and employed 100 persons. An auction for the buildings, equipment, and specific brand names, was set for October 25, 1948. 13

On November 21, 1948, Schenley Distillers, of Cincinnati, purchased the Old Poindexter. 9 The purchase by Schenley included the rights and trademarks to Old Poindexter, Old Barry, and Belle of Franklin. 3 The Old Poindexter name was transferred to the RD No. 9 at Lebanon, formerly John A. Wathen. 2

Post-Distillery

Between 1952 and circa 1975, 4 Derby Tank Car and Manufacturing used the facility to repair and clean railroad tank cars that carried chemicals, employing 85 people. 1 The facility was an environmental disaster, as a large pit had cracked and chemicals dumped into the ground. Two nearby wells were found to have petroleum products and ammonia in them in 1976.

In March 1975, Jack DaVania, along with two other Louisville investors, purchased the abandoned Old Poindexter Distillery for $100,000. 10 The trio sold 46 acres of the distillery land to recover half of their investment and began taking the barrel houses apart. A liquidation auction of the former distillery held on June 14, 1975 6 included:

  • 350,000 board feet of seasoned red oak and yellow pine
  • 15 used electric motors
  • Various steam and gasoline-powered pumps
  • Grain roller and cracking mill
  • Steel hopper scales
  • Exhaust fans
  • One 10-foot × 18-foot steel vertical tank
  • Two 8-foot × 10-foot vertical steel tanks
  • Four 1,000 gallon tanks with steam jackets
  • Two 500-gallon tanks with linings
  • Four cypress tanks with steel hoops
  • One barrel of linseed oil
  • 10,000 machine bolts
  • Flat and V-style pulleys
  • Antique brass oilers
Sources