Old Crow Distillery

Located in Kentucky, Old Crow Distillery once produced Old Grand Dad, Bourbon DeLuxe, Sunny Brook and other bourbon beverages. The plant closed in 1987 as a result of a buy-out from competitor Jim Bean.1


Dr. James Crow, a physician, moved to the state of Kentucky in 1823 and found a job working for colonel Willis Field at a distillery on Grier’s Creek just outside of Woodford County.1 Using his medical and scientific skills and general knowledge of bourbon production, Crow enhanced and sped up the production process. He soon moved to Millville on Glenn’s Creek and for the next twenty years, worked and managed the Oscar Pepper Distillery, later the Labrot and Graham and Woodford Reserve Distillery. Crow also worked for the Johnson Distillery, which eventually became Old Taylor, until his death in 1856. He was considered the “father of bourbon.”

Old Crow Distillery did not open until 1872, 16 years after Crow had passed away.1 Owned by National Distillers, the facility manufactured Old Crow Whiskey which became one of first nationally known whiskey brands. In the 1960s, the plant was refurbished and the formula changed. Sales began a slow decline the brand was acquired by Jim Bean Brands in 1987.

Neil Craig, a descendant of whiskey pioneer Elijah Craig, and his partner, David Meier, purchased the abandoned distillery in December 2013. The duo intended to rehabilitate the bottling house for Deviant Distillers, a micro-distillery, that would produce bourbon, rye, “moonshine” and spiced rum with a capacity of 60 gallons per day. It is now owned solely Meier as Glenns Creek Distilling with operations projected to resume in 2015.

Sources

  1. Lipman, John F. “The GHOSTS of WHISKIES PAST.” 1999. 14 July 2005 Article.
  2. Cowdery, Charles K. “Distillery Destruction — Saving Kentucky’s Heritage.” 7 Apr. 2005. The Cultured Traveler. 14 July 2005 Article.
  3. Hogan, Meghan. “Low Spirits in Kentucky.” 23 June 2005. Preservation Online. 14 July 2005 Article.

21 Comments

  1. I am wanting to see about getting our group, Georgetown Paranormal Society into this location for a proper investigation. Please e-mail if you know the owners name or e-mail. Thank you so much.

  2. Would your group be interested in any other distillery sites? Please respond via email address, not this public forum.

  3. I am very big into hunting artifacts it is a part of my child hood I still stay very intact with unfortunately maybe the only part I have left that I can still connect with.Artifact hunting brings back my past,although I’m only 27 I find this to be a amazing stress releasing hobby also.More than anything it is a part of my past I shared with my oldest sister,sadly see past nearly 7 years ago so past in hunting is all I will ever have with her so I try my hardest to keep that memory alive. My reason for writing this is in hopes to get response back on a way to obtain permission to hunt glass,I have recently meet a women that shares the same passion for artifacts I do.I’m trying very hard to put a glass hunt together for are first official date if someone has any info on who to contact to try and make it possible to search on these grounds please. Contact me at my email address I left above where it ask for it,or respond via this site I can assure we will not damage property in any manner we will not leave anything out of place nor enter structure again info on who to contact to move forward with obtaining permission with glass hunt would be very appreciated thank you.

  4. I have an Old Crow Kentucky Straight Boourbon Whiskey bottled in Bond.100Proof.4/5 Quart Reg. dist No.. 25, Ky. Bottled at I.R.B.W. No.25,KY Can anyone tell me the age of this bottle? It has inlaid pic of old crow and writing. thank you.

    • I have the same bottle.
      Did you ever determine the value of it?

  5. I have an Old Crow coin bank given to my dad back in the ’60s by a barkeeper friend.It’s red with black bands.It’s some sort of ceramic material…or plaster….

  6. I am 68 years old and have enjoyed a little bourbon yes a little in my lifetime. From George Dickel, Rebel Yell, etc. but ounce per ounce the 86 Proof OLD CROW RESERVE is about the best. NO brag just fact. Let it be known that if you want a good whisky drink its got to be Straight Bourbon Whiskey, not blended and for sure not the Canidain____ they call whiskey.

  7. Years ago I bought a 29 inch tall Old Crow advertising figure. It is in outstanding condition with beautiful patina. I’m told the unusual thing about ii is that it has an orange vest instead of the traditional red. Some one advised me it could be from England. Can anyone help me with its history?

    • Bob Lintz, I would love to see a photo of the Old Crow advertising sculpture that you purchased. My grandfather was an advertising sculptor and I am trying to determine if Old Crow was one of his creations. I know for sure that my grandpa did the Paul Jones sculpture of John Paul Jones, which that company started using. I have a small old Old Crow sculpture that was in my dad’s possession, and think that just maybe my grandpa may have done work for this company, too. A mystery I’d love to solve!

    • Amazing! I am so happy that someone bought this complex. I’ve seen folks come in and out of the outer buildings for years (storage, I presume) and slowly watched the other buildings deteriorate and collapse. ANY investment is welcomed.

  8. Yes it is true we have purchased this great property! We have been hard at work getting things cleaned up, but it takes a long time to clean up almost 30 years of neglect! We are happy to talk to anyone about the property and welcome visitors. If you come by and the gate is open come on in. Just ask for Neil or David.
    We plan to have a micro distillery and winery at the site as well as an entertainment venue. We should be operational later this year and next year we should be having summer activities.
    Looking forward to hearing from you!

    • I noticed that you said that visitors were invited. I noticed the no trespassing signs. Are you still allowing visitors? Can you tell me when the fire occurred? Very interesting beautiful old place. Would love to see inside and photograph this place.

      • Future events at Old Crow Distillery will be posted in the near future. At the current time, no visitors are allowed on site without prior approval.

  9. David – my father, Harry Thompson, was general superintendent of National Distillers 1960 – 1970. Our family actually lived in the properties from the 50s. My house was right there on Old Crow – needless to say it was an interesting childhood. My brother and I are so thrilled about your purchase and plans.

    Perhaps we could meet sometime to chat. Or let me know what days you are there and we will meet you. Congrats.

    • Ann – I’m very interested in learning about what your childhood might of been like living on the Old Crow property. I am doing research on Old Crow distillery and would love to understand it from your perspective.

      Feel free to reach out: dalfonso[at]tremendousinc[dot]com

  10. In the mid 1930’s my dad, Joseph M. Spalding started working for Old Crow as a security guard and he had worked his way up to being appointed as a forman for the distillery, as I understand, and, in 1961, I was 12 yrs. old and, he passed way, by which afterwards we moved to Louisville. My uncle who lived just before the Old Taylor distillery,on Millville road, George Spalding, worked for Old Taylor which, was part of National Distilleries. As a coincidence, during my travels to and from work, in Louisville, I would pass the National Distillery warehouses located on Payne St. & Lexington Rd. intersection.

  11. Great article about Old Crow Distillery. However, your mention of a buyout by “Jim Bean” is incorrect. The company you’re referring to is actually “Jim BEAM”.

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