Bourbon Industry

After Castle & Key renovation, master distiller walks away. What’s next for her, historic distillery?

See the before and after of Castle and Key Distillery renovation

See photos of the decrepit state of the Taylor Distillery Company before renovations to become the new Castle & Key Distillery.
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See photos of the decrepit state of the Taylor Distillery Company before renovations to become the new Castle & Key Distillery.

Marianne Eaves, who was a rising star at Brown-Forman before she left to spearhead the revival of what is now Castle & Key Distillery, is going out on her own.

Eaves announced on Monday that she has left Castle & Key, where she oversaw the renovation of the long-defunct Old Taylor distillery. She said she plans to consult and work “on strategic partnerships while also pursuing further opportunities to showcase the industry in documentary film and television projects. She will also be pursuing book, speaking, digital and culinary projects.”

Eaves had been the assistant master distiller to Chris Morris at Brown-Forman before she left in 2015.

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Master Distiller Marianne Eaves held up a beaker of bourbon she distilled at the Castle & Key Distillery. It’s been aging about six months. The bourbon won’t be ready until 2021, she said last year. Eaves announced Monday she has left Castle & Key. Charles Bertram cbertram@herald-leader.com

“Over the past four years I have been so proud of Castle & Key’s strong brand, portfolio of spirits and position as a historical bourbon tourism destination,” Eaves said in the release. “This is in no small part due to the incredible team we have put in place since the beginning and I have every confidence they will uphold my stringent quality standards.”

Castle & Key founding partners Wes Murry and Will Arvin said in a separate release that they were sad to see her go.

“Marianne’s impact at Castle & Key is far ranging, has many facets and will extend well byond her time with us. She will be greatly missed, but we wish her well and know she will be successful in every future venture. ... We will use her departure as an opportunity to create something new. We look forward to sharing more plans for our team in the coming months,” the statement said.

Castle & Key has released two spirits: Restoration Gin and Restoration Vodka and is aging a rye spirit as well as others.

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