Lewisport’s First completed Rickhouse is Being Filled with Barrels for Aging
Whiskey-aging, charred white oak barrels are currently being loaded into the first completed rickhouse at the 78-acre Lewisport site. David Carroll, Director of Operations at Green River Distillery, says it should be filled to capacity with 58,800 barrels by November of this year.
After 4-6 years of aging, the whiskey will be bottled and the process will start over with new barrels that are shipped in to the Owensboro site, then filled and transported here.
Lewisport’s 2nd rickhouse is already being constructed by a crew from Buzick Construction, out of the Bardstown Group. It is planned for completion this year as well, and will also hold 58,800 barrels.
Six of the 8 rickhouses they plan to build will hold that same number of barrels and 2 will be slightly smaller. They plan to use the old Dal-Tile Plant for pallet storage, as well as for barrel-filling equipment and operations. The old plant can hold up to 100,000 barrels. There is also a plan to use the building and property to help promote some tourism. The projected timeline for completion of all 8 rickhouses is 3-4 years, Carroll said.
One of the rickhouses is located parallel with Hwy 60 and another will be constructed directly behind it. The rickhouse underway now will be situated parallel with Fallin Lane. The small, onsite sawmill in the back area of the property will also have rickhouses built around it.
Bardstown Bourbon Company purchased Green River’s Owensboro distillery, the 10th oldest distillery in Kentucky, in July, 2022. The expansion to Lewisport of their existing operations began last year, with GN Excavating beginning the dirt work in January and the distillery beginning the 1st rickhouse construction in early June, which took around 6 months to build.
Although the Lewisport site isn’t a distillery, this is the first time since the early 1900s that Hancock County has had a distillery-related company located in the area. From the early 1880s to the early 1900s, Duncan & Hanson Distillery and Old Best Distillery – Best & Sons Distilling Company operated here at Best’s Landing on the Ohio River.
All of the rickhouses at the Lewisport site will be spaced 200-feet apart and have sprinkler systems. There’s a large tank onsite filled with 750,000 gallons of water, with pumps inside, and soon there will be a 2nd tank installed for emergencies in case one fails. They have the ability to pump 2,500 gallons a minute, and are required per regulations from the state and insurance companies. There are many safety features in the new buildings that are intended to prevent fires as well.
They currently have 6 local employees and plan to hire up to possibly 20 in all. As the site grows, Carroll said there will be a need for mowing grass & pressure washing. They are looking at putting fencing around the property, and already have it set up for cameras and a security system. There is a possibility they’ll hire guards as well.
The Gift Shop & Cocktail Lounge at the Owensboro site (located at 10 Distillery Road) is open Monday-Saturday, from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. For a full list of merchandise visit: email@example.com.
Owensboro Distillery Tours are $20 and include samples of 3 whiskies. They are offered Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Sit and Sip is Monday-Saturday from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. A Barrell Thieving Tour is offered Tuesday-Friday at 2 p.m.
You must be 21 to sample, but all ages are welcome to tour. Group tours can be arranged by contacting Nicole Ebelhar, Manager of Visitor Experience at Green River Distilling Co. at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information you can call the distillery at 270-691-9001 or email at: email@example.com.