Bourbon Industry

Historic Chicken Cock bourbon once again being made in Kentucky

The bourbon for Chicken Cock Whiskey is now being made by Bardstown Bourbon Co. under their Collaborative Distilling Program. The first 616 barrels were filled there last month.
The bourbon for Chicken Cock Whiskey is now being made by Bardstown Bourbon Co. under their Collaborative Distilling Program. The first 616 barrels were filled there last month.

One of Kentucky’s newest distilleries will soon be making bourbon for a very old brand. Bardstown Bourbon Co. has announced it is now producing Chicken Cock Whiskey.

The bourbon and whiskey will be made as part of Bardstown Bourbon’s Collaborative Distilling Program, which pairs master distiller Steve Nally with brands for contract distilling at the new distillery. The first 616 barrels were filled by the end of August, according to Bardstown Bourbon.

While it is now owned by the Grain & Barrel Spirits of West Palm Beach, Fla., the historic Chicken Cock Whiskey brand was originally established in 1856 in Paris, Ky., and was a pre-Prohibition favorite.

After the original distillery burned down, it left the market in the 1950s. The brand was revived five ago. And it didn’t take long to become popular again: In 2013, someone stole 10,000 bottles with an 18-wheeler at a Florence, S.C., truck stop. CEO Matti Anttila made news by offering a $10,000 reward for help getting the 884 cases back. The theft, the reward and the brand’s distinctive name drew lots of media attention. Anttila gave dozens of interviews and the brand got a truckload of free publicity.

“Joining the Collaborative Distilling Program at BBCo. completes the exciting resurrection of Chicken Cock, one of the oldest bourbon brands in the country,” said Anttila in a news release. “The brand is now officially 100 percent back home in Kentucky.”

Grain & Barrel also owns the Dixie Vodka brand, based in Charleston, S.C.

Bardstown Bourbon Co. began distilling in 2016 and recently completed an expansion to accommodate demand for more contract distilling. The distillery also has a restaurant and bourbon bar, Bottle & Bond Kitchen and Bar, which is the first full-service restaurant on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail in a distillery. The bar features nearly 200 vintage American whiskeys, including some dating back to the 1800s, according to the company.

Constellation Brands owns a minority stake in Bardstown Bourbon Co.

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