Princeton’s first bourbon and moonshine distillery is open for business.
While Caldwell County is still a dry county, Princeton voted to allow in packaged and by the drink liquor sales in 2012.
Patrick Sheridan says he and co-owner Chris Oakley have worked with city and economic leaders for over two years to develop the city’s first distillery since Prohibition.
"In that time we have completely gutted and remodeled a 101-year-old building, which sits 50 yards from our water source, a natural limestone spring," said Sheridan. "Limestone strips out iron which gives your product a very smooth, clean finish. There's a reason the best bourbon in the world comes from Kentucky and mainly that's because this state sits atop limestone rock which makes some of the best water for bourbon."
Sheridan says all facets of the bourbon-making process are sourced locally.
“We’re very happy about that, because all of that money is going back into the community and this area," said Sheridan.
"But it’s a pretty neat little outfit: we’re sourcing our grain locally, we’re sourcing our water locally, obviously. And even our barrels, even though they’re being provided by a company in Louisville, the white-oaks staves for them was cut in Morton’s Gap, Kentucky which is less than 50 miles from us."
A state law signed by Governor Bevin this summer allows distilleries to sell by-the-drink liquor, which Crooked Tail plans to do. Along with the distillery operation, Crooked Tail will double as a bar and grill.
Sheridan says they have cold beer and the most extensive bourbon collection in a 100 mile radius. Since it takes about four years to barrel-age their own bourbon, they'll be distilling flavored moonshine, rum and vodka in the meantime. He says products will be available in their sampling room in about three weeks.
Though its still early yet, Sheridan says Princeton’s mayor is in talks with the state tourism board to register the distillery on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, which saw some 900,000 tourists last year. “The Frankfort tourism cabinet is telling our mayor that we can pull between 15,000-30,000 people annually into this little town, and your talking about a town with a population around 6,000 people," said Sheridan.