The Kentucky Distillers’ Association today announced that the O.Z. Tyler Distillery in Owensboro is the newest member of the non-profit trade group that unites and leads the state’s signature Bourbon and distilled spirits industry.
“We’re thrilled that Bourbon production has returned to Owensboro, which has a rich and deep history in our legendary industry,” KDA President Eric Gregory said. “And it’s always wonderful to see one of our landmark distilleries restored to its glory.
“On behalf of the KDA and all our members, we proudly welcome the O.Z. Tyler Distillery to our hallowed ranks, and applaud and congratulate the entire Terressentia team on its investment and success. Thank you for returning Bourbon to Daviess County.”
Even though it has a new name, the distillery actually traces its roots back 130 years.
The Green River Distillery, built on the Ohio River site in 1885, was a major producer of Kentucky Bourbon before burning to the ground in 1918. It was rebuilt after Prohibition and operated as the Charles W. Medley Distillery from 1936 to 1993.
The distillery was mostly vacant until 2014 when it was purchased by Terressentia, a South Carolina firm that has invested $25 million in a massive restoration of the 26-acre site, including six warehouses and a 54-inch column still capable of producing 32,000 barrels annually.
The distillery resumed production earlier this month and will create 75 full-time jobs.
“We are delighted to join the KDA and appreciate the warm welcome extended, as well as that received from the Owensboro community,” said Terressentia CEO Earl Hewlette. “The local vendors and contractors have been great to work with and we have found the community to be a real draw for the staff members we needed to relocate there.
“Everyone seems to have a story to tell about relatives who worked at the distillery at one point or another. It feels like a homecoming of sorts, particularly for Jacob Call, our third-generation distillery from Bardstown.”
O.Z. Tyler is the KDA’s 30th member, the most since the Repeal of Prohibition. Gregory said the distillery enters the group as a craft-level member, but he anticipates a quick rise through its ranks as its production and barrel inventories increase over the next year.
The distillery is located at 10 Distillery Road in Owensboro. Its gift shop is open between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. CST Monday through Friday, with tours and tastings available at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. weekdays. It is closed for tours Saturday and Sunday.
To learn more, visit oztylerdistillery.com.
Founded in 1880, the KDA is the state’s voice for Bourbon and spirits issues. Its diverse membership produces 90 percent of the world’s Bourbon, from legendary, global brands to emerging micro-distilleries that are building the next generation of the timeless craft.
Kentucky Bourbon is one of the Commonwealth’s most historic and treasured industries, a booming $3 billion economic engine that generates more than 15,400 jobs with an annual payroll topping $700 million and pours $166 million into state and local coffers each year.
The KDA’s world-famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® adventures also set attendance records last year with nearly 900,000 guests touring an all-time high of 19 participating distilleries. (*Editor’s note: OZ Tyler has not yet officially joined the Kentucky Bourbon Trial or Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour.)
In addition, KDA member distilleries are in the middle of a $1.3 billion building boom, Gregory said, from innovative new tourism centers to expanded production facilities, all to meet the growing global thirst for Kentucky’s signature spirit.
As further proof of the Bourbon renaissance, the KDA recently announced that state distilleries filled nearly 1.9 million barrels of Bourbon last year, the largest amount in nearly a half-century, and paid a record $17.8 million in barrel taxes that fund education and public safety.
There are now 1.5 barrels for every person living in Kentucky.
Gregory said, “We deeply appreciate the support and leadership of O.Z. Tyler as the KDA continues its efforts to promote, protect and elevate our signature industry, and to strengthen Kentucky’s rightful place as the one, true and authentic home of Bourbon and distilled spirits.”