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Castle & Key distillery

Colonel E.H. Taylor, Jr. dreamed of building a showcase distillery as a destination for tourists. The Colonel’s once glorious Old Taylor Distillery was founded in 1887 and shuttered in 1972.

Since then it has been in a state of decay, overrun by weeds, snakes and graffiti for more than 40 years. Mother Nature has been reclaiming this 113 acre piece of land and its 20 plus buildings along Glenn’s Creek in Millville, Kentucky near Frankfort. Until recently when it was revived as Castle & Key.

Old Taylor Distillery

Founded in 1887 Taylor Distillery on Glenns Creek, near Frankfurt, was designed to resemble a medieval castle with the landscaped grounds of an estate. The distillery attracted tourists and day trippers, who were given a complimentary “tenth pint” bottle of Old Taylor.

In 1972 the historic “Castle” distillery structure had been abandoned and it remained abandoned, standing by left in a deteriorating condition for more than 40 years. Some of the material from the barrel houses was released for construction. The facility was renovated starting in 2015 and started as a distillery again in 2016.

Distillery Name Change

In June 2009 Buffalo Trace acquired the distillery trademark rights and remaining stocks of barrels. As the new distillery operation is not associated with the current owners of the old Taylor brand the distillery itself was rebranded.


As Old Taylor, despite its decline, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the restoration and renovations were slow and expensive. Every change had to be done in accordance with stringent rules. Fortunately, a handful of lucky breaks allowed for the revival of some of the existing operations. Remarkably most of the fermenters used from 1935 to 1972 were still viable. In September 2018 the distillery once opened again to visitors.

Castle & Key factsheet

Name Pronounced AKA Region Country of Origin
Castle & Key Old Taylor Kentucky USA
Status Active Whisky Type Website Tours Available
Active 1887 - Present Grain Castle & Key Not Available
Manager Distiller Blender Owned by Parent Group
Marianne Barnes Sazerac Company

Interesting Castle & Key links:

Old Taylor Distillery Transformation

Old Taylor, Descriptive use of a trademark

Marianne Eaves Departing Castle & Key Distillery

Can I tour Castle & Key?

No, unfortunately Castle & Key distillery is not open to the public for tours