Glenn's Creek Distillery (#4 of 19) is a small craft distillery that would like to stay that way. It's one of the most raw tours you'll go on and that makes it one to schedule, if you want a full range of tours.
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ABOUT THE DISTILLERY TOUR
- Location: Frankfort, KY
- Impression: Fly that Jolly Roger. A very different distillery experience - craft to the extreme.
- Website: Tour Information
- Cost: The tour costs $8.
- Samples: I got to try all 4 of their selections. 2 spirits were outsourced from MGP in Indiana to get them started, however Glenn's Creek finished aging them in the barrels and 2 are 100% theirs from start to finish. They have a single barrel double oaked called Stave + Barrel (MGP), a single barrel cask strength rye called Ryskey, OCD #5 and Prohibition Rum.
- Perks: If you buy a bottle of spirits, they will refund the tour fee.
- My Glenn's Creek Instagram Photos
In this video, I will give you a glimpse of the Old Crow distillery as it stands today, with a legacy back to the 1830's. It is the very distillery where Mr. James C. Crow perfected the Sour Mash process for bourbon whiskey. Interestingly enough, he later went on to work for the Old Oscar Pepper Distillery which I visit on Day 3. Today the Old Oscar Pepper Distillery is known as Woodford Reserve.
- GPS might have a little challenge with this one. It's right on Glenn's Creek though and between the Kentucky Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Woodford Reserve. Be ready, it's a small 1 1/2 lane road with two way traffic, but I didn't see a single car coming from the other direction at the time of day I was there.
- If you're around on a Sunday, they are there at 10 AM, which can help you sneak in 3 distilleries in that single day.
- What I loved about these guys is, Stuart gave me the tour even though I was the only one there at 10 AM and he listened to my interests and crafted the presentation on the fly to give me the rundown on the history of bourbon in Kentucky and the Old Crow distillery.
- The Old Crow distillery is fascinating for historians and ruin hunters. You can't go inside, but they are cool exteriors to checkout.
- Don't drive into the area with the Old Crow Distillery on the sign, that is Jim Beam's warehouses and not Glenn's Creek's, you will be met my security!
- I mention the Jolly Roger because Stuart said they'd like to fly one off their building. In other words, they don't want to be huge, they want to do it the old fashioned way.
- A lot of marketing myths were dispelled here. I appreciated that. The tone was, the buyer of spirits should purchase because they love it and it's a good product, not because of what it says on the label.
- They have a clear spirit with Alexander Hamilton's face on it...ask them what they think of ol' Alexander Hamilton's tax policy. However, they might thank Hamilton for pushing distilllers West after his involvement in run up to the Whiskey Rebellion.
- I found myself recommending this distillery over and over to people. Mainly because it was so different than any other. Closest second to that craft distiller feeling would be Kentucky Artisan Distillery.
- This is the only place I heard of that that didn't reduce their cask strength with distilled water to get it down to a legal proofing level. Instead they use the "tail" and just purify that, which is a lower alcohol level. So this is definitely not watered down.
- If you think having one of these small distillers use outside product from MGP of Indiana somehow cheapens it...think again. I found this list of other products, including some from big players, that are outsourced from MGP. Note that none of these should be able to say Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey because they did not originate from Kentucky.
- I saw a wild turkey on the way. Foreshadowing? Yes!
A Walk Around the Historic Old Crow Distillery Ruins
Here is some additional footage of the 19th century Old Crow distillery ruins.
Further Investigation: Limestone Water
Go to any distillery out in the country and they will brag about their limestone water source. At one time, I believed limestone water was essential in making bourbon. That is how far the myth has come. Glenn's Creek went as far as to say limestone water, for all it's natural benefits to making bourbon also causes some issues in it's added calcium. It sent me on a mission to learn a bit more. Little is written about it to the contrary, however, I did find this article that suggests that even some major distillers such as Old Forester just use reverse osmosis water because clean, fresh limestone water is not available in downtown Louisville. So, next time someone says bourbon has to have limestone water, put that down to marketers who started spinning the tale back in the 1700's. Technology has advanced quite a bit since then, so enjoy the tall tale about the need for limestone water, and enjoy your bourbon wherever in the states you get it from.