Old Taylor Distillery

Old Taylor Distillery is a defunct distillery located south of Frankfort, Kentucky.

Old Taylor Distillery, a defunct distillery located south of Frankfort, Kentucky, was constructed by E.H. Taylor, Jr. in 1887. Old Taylor Distillery was known for a fine, quality product that was the first to produce one million cases of straight bourbon whiskey.

Taylor, involved in financial and political interests for the commonwealth, was politically well connected. A descendant of James Madison and Zachary Taylor, two U.S. presidents, and as a result of this, Taylor served as mayor of Frankfort for 16 years and also as a state representative and senator.

Taylor was essentially responsible for revitalizing the liquor industry that had little to no confidence from consumers due to product quality, passing laws that would ensure quality, such as the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897. The Act was a federal subsidy via a tax abatement for products produced under particular government standards.

When the Old Taylor Distillery was constructed, it was considered a showcase of bourbon production. The sprawling complex included a peristyle spring house, sunken gardens and gazebos where guests and politicians were entertained. The main office and plant was constructed entirely of Tyrone, Kentucky limestone. Visitors arrived on the “Riney-B,” or the Richmond, Nicholasville, Irvine & Beattyville Railroad, where they would be given a tour of the facility.

Old Taylor was the first distillery to reach one million U.S. Government certified cases of straight bourbon whiskey. Times were great, to the extent that National Distilleries purchased Old Taylor Distillery in 1935. National Distilleries operated the plant for many years before it passed to the Jim Bean Corporation. In 1972, during a downturn in bourbon consumption, Jim Bean idled the plant, although it continued to store and agebourbon whiskey in the warehouses until 1994 when the space was declared surplus.

Various proposals were floated to revitalize the distillery complex. Cecil Withrow, a former employee of National Distilleries, along with Robert Sims, his business partner, purchased the property and incorporated Stone Castle Properties. Renovations began in 1996 and in 1997, an art and craft mall opened in the former bottling house. Withrow planned on including a natural spring bottling operation and a whiskey distilling business by 1999, but those plans never came to fruition.

In May of 2005, the property was sold to Scott Brady, who had completing selective demolition of several warehouses that were in various stages of collapse or decay. Wood and other materials salvaged from several warehouses were being marketed under Heart Pine Reserve.

The photographs presented are the first published photographs of the interior since the facility ceased operations in 1972. Explore Old Taylor Distillery and see for yourself »


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I found a stoneware bottle & can only find one other example. Its tall & skinny & reads eh taylor & sons frankfort kentucky “old taylor”. Looking to find a buyer & or a vlue. Todd

All I drink is old Taylor I can’t find any I live in Kansas City Missouri how can I get some bottles of old Taylor if there’s anyone that could help me do they still make old Taylor

i understand the old taylor distillery is going to re-open——–I read a article in Garden & Gun Magazine——Any truth?

I also have an unopened bottle of Old Taylor. It has a Montana liquor stamp on it, dated 1947. I am amazed at how little this corked bottle has lost to evaporation, if any! I am not a collector and do not have a use for it. I would certainly not drink something of this vintage. If anyone has any interest in this 68 year old bottle, please send me a line. I am sure it was bottled or made 3 to 5 years prior to the stamp date.

If it is for sale I’d be interested. I have a bottle with about 2 ounces left, opened a little more than a year ago and treasuring.

I have acquired an antique 55 gallon wooden whiskey barrel with the Old Taylor Whiskey stamp on the lid. Email or reply, I’m sure someone has to be interested in the history of this and could use it.

I started drinking Old Taylor when I was 6….(today that is called child abuse. LOL). Today….55 years later it is still my favorite drink. Hard to find….Sometimes I have to have it special ordered. Although I have tried other bourbons, Old Taylor has a distinct taste that I think many people would appreciate if the product was better advertised and marketed.

Old Taylor got me thru College…………..Anxiety never got to me (1969) !

Still Happy !

You seen the show Abandoned on National Geographic? Apparently they are looking for buildings and objects like Old Taylor. They buy, fix up, and sell things they can salvage from abandoned buildings. Of course they contact the owners first and buy what they’re willing to part from. The hosts wife stays back wherever they are based and looks up people like you that they get leads on and tries to buy things like that. Might even get on tv…

I have inherited an unopened bottle of Old Taylor Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey that belonged to my grandfather, W.A. Taylor (no relationship to the distillery that I'm aware of). It says its contents were "Made in 1937" and "Bottled in 1941". I found it in his liquor "travel case". It appears some of the liquid has evaporated as the bottle was stored upright and I suspect the cork bottle stopper may no longer be "air tight". I figure it's got to be worth at least several hundred dollars to a collector, if not more. But, I have no sense how to market it. Any suggestions would be welcome. Thank you.

I still have a couple once left from a 1947 bottle. I have to tell you, it was one of the best whiskeys I’ve ever had, truly remarkable, super smooth, would never guess 100 proof. Hope you enjoy

Glad I found this site. Laura and I were cycling out of Versailles, headed toward the Kentucky River as it winds it's way through horse country and happened upon the old grounds. It was a beautiful day for cycling and to find such a place was almost surreal. I guess it took 15 minutes of riding along with our mouth's hanging open in awe to pass the entire series of buildings. We saw some Jim Bean trailers backed up to docks which made us think something must still (no pun intended ) be going on. Saw some other vehicles about but no souls. Thanks for the little bit of history. We will be back, if only to show our "bourbon drinking" cyclist friends.

Jim, what you saw was the Old Crow Distillery about a mile down the road from Old Taylor. Beam owns the property and still uses some of the warehouses for maturing whiskey.

The decanter shaped like entrance was my first introduction to Old Taylor. My Dad said there were only 100 released in celebration of 100 years since the founding of the distillery. Looking at the dates here, I think he was told wrong. I have the decanter, now.

We happended upon the distillery by accident today. We were driving on our way to Wild Turkey and made a wrong turn. We were amazed at the site and the structures. We spent an hour walking around and taking pictures. We imagined what the distillery must have been during its prime. The springhouse was incredible. It's a shame most of the property is in ruins. We appreciated reading about its history.

Some friends and I actually went and visited this place today. It was absolutely amazing. walking through the crumbling buildings you could just imagine the production that used to go on. There is also a fall-out shelter in the basement of one building that still has boxes of emergency rations dated 1963. In the distilling area there are instruments with graphs dating from the end of January 1972 from the last time someone had changed them for another day of production before they shut down. We did get promptly kicked off the property after being discovered, because a lot of people go out there and like to smash things up which is very sad.

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