Original Maker's Mark still is on display at Liquor Barn

jpatton1@herald-leader.comAugust 26, 2014 

A piece of Kentucky bourbon history is on display at the Liquor Barn in Beaumont Centre.

The original pot still used to make the first barrels of Maker's Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky was found recently in a warehouse at the distillery in Loretto, according to a news release.

It was refurbished by Vendome Copper and Brass Works of Louisville and has been set up at the liquor store.

The pot still will be on display through the end of the year, then it will be moved back to the distillery for a permanent exhibit in the new visitors center.

Details about the still's history are a bit uncertain. Apparently it was on the property when Bill Samuels Sr. bought the distillery in 1953.

Bill Samuels Jr., the retired head of Maker's Mark, said the still had been there for at least 10 years and that it was probably built for the Burks Spring Distillery after Prohibition ended.

It was found several months ago in a barn on the distillery property by George Gatewood of Longwood Antique Woods. It probably had been covered up for 50 years, distillery officials estimated.

Roger Leasor, spokesman for Liquor Barn, said the Beaumont store is one of the few that could get the historic still in the door.

But it's also an appropriate site because of the proximity to Keeneland, where the first case of Maker's Mark sold in 1958, and because of the relationship between the store and Maker's: "We sell probably more Maker's Mark than any other store in the world," Leasor said.

Janet Patton: (859) 231-3264. Twitter: @janetpattonhl.

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