T.W. Samuels Distillery

The T.W. Samuels Distillery is an abandoned distillery in Deatsville, Kentucky.

The T.W. Samuels & Son Distillery was founded by Taylor William Samuels and his son, W.I., in 1844, which produced the T.W. Samuels and Old Deatsville whiskeys. 1 2 Both Taylor and W.I. died in 1898, and the family business was taken over by Leslie B., son of W.I. 1

A fire destroyed the distillery and six warehouses holding 9,000 barrels of whiskey on November 9, 1909. 1 2 The complex was soon rebuilt and in 1913, the Starr Distillery Company of Cincinnati purchased a controlling interest in T.W. Samuels.

T.W. Samuels closed after the passage of the Volstead Act in 1920 but it was reorganized by Leslie B. and Robert L. Block of Cincinnati after the law was repealed in 1933. 1 2 Construction began on a new distillery and warehouses for 19,000 barrels along the Louisville & Nashville Railroad Bardstown-Springfield branch. 2

The T.W. Samuels brand had a strong following in Cincinnati, some urban Texas markets, and the west coast, and the 90-proof whiskey proved to be far more popular than they had envisioned. 1 Shortages developed. The company began purchasing barrels when they were available from the Labrot & Graham distillery in Woodford County until 1940.

Block wanted to sell the distillery in 1943, much to the objection of Bill Samuels, son of Leslie B., who attempted to secure financing to acquire the distillery outright. 1 When he was unable to do so, Block sold T.W. Samuels to the Foster Trading Corporation of New York, who changed the name to Country Distillers.

In 1950, Country Distillers began to use a continuous cooker instead of mash tubs, which increased production but lowered the quality of the whiskey. 1 Sales dropped sharply causing Country Distillers to close in 1952. Portions of the distillery were reused to produce bottled spring water. 1 Seven 20,000 barrel capacity warehouses were purchased by Haven Hill while two others were acquired by Maker’s Mark.



  1. Cecil, Samuel K. “T.W. Samuels Distillery Inc., RD #145.” The Evolution of the Bourbon Whiskey Industry in Kentucky. 1999. Paducah: Turner, 2001. 117-120.
  2. “T.W. Samuels.” pre-pro.com, 2006. 13 March 2008 Article.


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my grandfather worked there in the 40s and retired from tw samuels , i still have the timex watch he received when he did , and pay stubs from there while he worked

So i live in the noeghborhood that is just I front of the old disterly I don’t have any history but I have been inside all of the buildings that you can get into there is still large machines in some of the building probably that powered the distillery or what ever else was being produced at the time but this place really is so cool there are rooms with 150 foot ceilings like your walking into a cathedral dr sholtites still has a hanger with his airplanes and a landing strip that runs next to a warehouse there is also a garage with a fire truck a boat and an old car and a motorcycle along with some other weird things part of the distillery is locked up and can not be accessed but everything and every room you can see through windows looks the day it closed down I’d say but this place is definenly a cool place to explored it is watched by a man who has some horses on the property I haven’t been there since iv turned 18 but I always loved walking around in there lots of old new papers dating back to the 60s I think most of the rooms you can get into are falling apart I would not try and go into there if your over 18 my name is Ryan I will probably never be on here again but I just wanted to share my experiences at this amazing forgotten place

With all due respect to the late Mr. Cecil, the distillery remained in production until the early 1980’s. My Great Uncle, Sam Westerman, was one of the investors in the Foster Trading Co. (along with Stanhope Foster) and later was sole owner of the operation. He sold the distillery around 1980 to a group from Scotland who a few years later sold it to Dr. Shultise who produced bottled water there for some time and still owns the property. I’ve done quite a bit of research on this distillery and my uncle – the former employees I have talked to over the years all told me the distillery produced juice up until at least 1980. I’m not sure where Mr. Cecil got his information from. According to my sources, the Scottish group kept the rights to a few of the Bourbon names including Elijah Craig which is now produced by Heaven Hill.

hi Mark, my mother worked for your great uncle; we lived across the street from the distillery back in the 70’s. I met Mr Westerman a few times when i was around 7 or 8. Of course, i never had any questions about the distillery until i got much older. I am very excited to see this property get some life back into it. I spent many days behind the old train depot just wasting time, etc. Thanks, Tim

I found a barrel that has :

star hill distilling co
Bourbon whisky
Old style mash
Doe August 13, 1969 trans August 13, 1969
Serial no 60304

I have found a bottle of fall 1964- spring 1969 100 proof Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey. It was not open however it has been opened now.

I found a almost full bottle of old whaler brand straight bourbon whiskey bottled by TW Samuels distillery deatsville,Nelson county Ky.
86 proof bottled exclusively for RHMacy&Company Inc. What year would this be from?

The Old Whaler brand is probably from the 1940’s or 1950’s, although I’ve never heard of that one! I have other labels that were produced for Macy’s from this time period.

I have found a half pint of TW Samuels Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisty in cleaning out a drawer of my Dad’s (he is 93).. Unopened. Numbers on the bottom. Is there anything that determined the date of production?

I found a almost full bottle of old whaler brand straight bourbon whiskey bottled by TW Samuels distillery deatsville,Nelson county Ky.
86 proof bottled exclusively for RHMacy&Company Inc. What year would this be from?

I found one of ur old Kentucky straight Bourbon whiskey bottles. It had a date on it. I think 43 years old. If I’m correct. Can you email us back. Thank you.

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