ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (AP) — A central Kentucky businessman is setting up the first legal whiskey still in Hardin County since Prohibition.
Brent Goodin has obtained a federal permit and a 125-gallon still shipped from Germany for his Boundary Oak Distillery, The News Enterprise (http://bit.ly/1a9Qf3s) reports. A key ingredient will be water from a limestone spring on his family property.
"The water coming off of these knobs has fed distilleries all these years," he said, referring to distilleries in neighboring counties.
Goodin plans to produce bourbon and traditional moonshine. His federal license allows him to produce 5,500 gallons per year.
Goodin estimates the startup venture will cost half a million dollars.
His venture is part of a proliferation of craft distilleries in the U.S. According to the American Distilling Institute, the total has gone from 50 operating in 2005 to more than 250 across 45 states in 2012.
Making bourbon takes years of aging the whiskey in new charred oak barrels, which provide flavor and the brown color. That means money going out but no income from bourbon for years.
That's why Goodin decided to also market moonshine, the clear corn liquor right out of the fermentation tanks. He said he'll sell his 120-proof moonshine through a wholesaler in traditional mason jars.
He plans to purchase corn locally and operate at first with five or fewer employees, mostly family members.
The first batch still awaits a state permit, though he said typically that approval quickly follows the federal license he received recently.
Goodin said he personally crafted the fermentation tanks, where yeast is introduced in the process. While bourbon typically is fermented in stainless still vats, his liquor will be processed in concrete tubs more common among winemakers, he said. As a result, he expects his produce to be unique.
Because alcohol sales aren't legal in unincorporated parts of Hardin County, Goodin cannot offer tastings or sell liquor at his facility. With easy access from Interstate 65 to his family's property, he plans to eventually provide tours and possibly create a gift shop.
Information from: The News-Enterprise, http://www.thenewsenterprise.com