Willett Distillery

Podcast : Bourbon Bettys Episode #101, What Would Happen if We Opened a Distillary” Dec 9, 2019

  • Started as a family farm since 1936
  • Became a “Kentucky Bourbon Distillery” in mid 80s
  • Make:
    • Noas Mill
    • Old Bardstown
    • Corner Creek
  • 2011 only 14 people employed and 4 were family members
  • It began with John David Willett was the Master Distiller for More, Willet and Frank Distillery that he formed with his brother in law Tom More and mr frank
  • 1876 he sold his interest in that because he got sick
  • His son Lambert started working at the age of 15 at Massingly More Distillery, and he went on to work at Max Sellinger distillery for another 20 years where he became part owner with 2 other guys and then his son Thompson joined him at the plant as asst superintendent
  • Later Lambert purchased the farm and started Willett Distilling with his son and they used John David’s original recipe for Old Bardstown
  •  Construction began in 1936 and only 30 barrels were made in 1937
  • Thompson Willett was the president of the company until 1984, he was also president of the KDA at one time
  • Later, Thompson’s daughter, Martha, would marry Evan Coldstein 
  • in the 70s, due to the energy crisis, they switched from making whiskey to making Ethol  but that did not work out for them as gas went back to normal prices in the 80s
  • After that Martha and Evan purchased the property and renamed it the Kentucky Bourbon Distillers
  • Their kids:
    • Drew and with Janel
    • Brit and husband Hunter
    • Are running the distillery
  • October 2012 they joined the KDA and joined the bourbon trail
  • The “Bar at Willett” opened September 2019
  • Evan was inducted into the bourbon hall of fame in 2019
  • Andthe KDA gave him the Parker Beam Lifetime Achievement Award
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