MILLVILLE — Woodford County's bourbon distilling history goes back 200 years. Now, the county's first microbrewery is scheduled to open next year.
A group of investors plans to start construction of Glenn's Creek Brewery in December and open for business early next year in Millville, a community near the Franklin County line.
"We're in the final stages of finalizing the floor plan with a contractor," said Bryan Kelly, one of the investors.
Kelly said equipment for the microbrewery came from a defunct operation in Alaska. The equipment went by container ship from Alaska to California, by train to Chicago and then by trucks to arrive in Millville on Aug. 27.
"Very few people in the microbrewery business ever go out of business. Well, somebody in Alaska did," Kelly said. "I don't know if the town was too small, the drink was too expensive or they weren't good business people, but we bought all their equipment."
The microbrewery will be built on a lot off McCracken Pike across from what is now Glenn's Creek Brewery BBQ Roadhouse, a restaurant that was once called Bootlegger's Run. The new restaurant has been open about a month.
At peak production, the microbrewery and restaurant will employ 15 people, Kelly said. The plan is that the craft beers made at the microbrewery will be sold at the restaurant across the road, and possibly at other locations.
The vacant Old Millville Store & Grill next to the microbrewery lot will be made into a tap room for customers to sample the different craft beers, Kelly said.
In June, the Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Planning Commission approved a text amendment to the zoning law to include "microbrewery" in B-1 business zoning anywhere in the county. Woodford Fiscal Court and the Versailles and Midway city councils gave their approvals to the change as well.
"Nobody had attempted to open a microbrewery, and it just wasn't on the books," Kelly said. "There have not been any unfavorable comments brought to fiscal court or P&Z, and none brought before Midway or Versailles councils."
Additional approvals are needed, however. The investors group hopes to obtain state and federal microbrewery permits, Kelly said.
Bob Douglas, a principal investor in the microbrewery, also owns Glenn's Creek Brewery in Chevy Chase, the former Buddy's restaurant at Euclid Avenue and High Street in Lexington, Kelly said. The beer made in Millville eventually will be sold at the Lexington restaurant as well, Kelly said.
Craft beer and microbreweries are popping up in Lexington and elsewhere in Central Kentucky. West Sixth Brewing Co. opened a tap room and beer production plant in the former Rainbo bakery at Jefferson and West Sixth streets in Lexington. And Country Boy Brewing is on Chair Avenue, off South Broadway.
Danville has seen the opening of a couple of microbreweries, and there is a Brewgrass Trail Web site to relay the latest information about Kentucky-made beers.
Kelly said investors were attracted to Millville because the properties were available at a good price. And visitors to the nearby Woodford Reserve Distillery might want to sample craft beers.
At some point Glenn's Creek Brewery and restaurant will offer entertainment such bluegrass music, "something fitting for the area," Kelly said. "Are we going to have rock bands down there? No. We want to keep the peace."