Bourbon Industry

‘Super-premium’ Kentucky Owl bourbon bought, to be available nationally

Kentucky Owl, which is described as a “small-batch, super-premium” bourbon, was founded in 1879 in Mercer County. It was sold earlier this week to SPI Group.
Kentucky Owl, which is described as a “small-batch, super-premium” bourbon, was founded in 1879 in Mercer County. It was sold earlier this week to SPI Group. AP

The Harrodsburg-based bourbon whiskey known as Kentucky Owl now belongs to SPI Group, a producer and seller of wine and spirits based in Luxembourg, according to a news release.

Kentucky Owl, which is described as a “small-batch, super-premium” bourbon, was founded in 1879 in Mercer County by Charles Mortimer Dedman. The bourbon was made until 1916, a few years before Prohibition. The bourbon was later resurrected by Dedman’s great-great-grandson Dixon Dedman, and Mark and Sherri Carter, two California winemakers, and the first batch was released in 2014.

According to Steve Coomes, an award-winning food and drink writer, the first new batch of Kentucky Owl consisted of about 1,300 750 milliliter bottles and sold for $175 a bottle. Previous batches were sold only in Kentucky.

An SPI Group official said he was excited to add the bourbon to the company’s portfolio of alcoholic drinks.

“When we began considering American whiskeys, we were attracted to Kentucky Owl because of its complex, yet very smooth taste profile,” Dmitry Efimov, CEO of SPI Group, said in a news release. “Upon sitting down with the owners and hearing the story, we became really enthusiastic about revitalizing the brand and concluded that this would be the bourbon to anchor a whiskey line for SPI. Our USA team is poised to bring this to market.”

Stoli Group USA, a subsidiary of SPI Group, will be responsible for national distribution, sales, marketing and global roll-out.

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