New Kentucky distillery reviving old name, investing millions and bringing new jobs to historic site

Published 5:36 am Monday, June 28, 2021

A startup spirits producer is reviving an old name as it plans to open a distillery at the same Kentucky site where whiskey was made starting in the late 1860s.

The new E.J. Curley distillery will be located at Camp Nelson in Jessamine County. It’s at the same site as the original E.J. Curley & Co. operation.

The new company will invest more than $5 million into the site, creating an expected 52 full-time jobs with an average hourly wage of $37 including benefits.

Gov. Andy Beshear announced the revival on Thursday after the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority approved $400,000 in two tax incentives for the project.

Spirits production is scheduled to begin by May 2022, along with the opening of a tasting room. Company leaders say they expect to welcome more than 100,000 visitors annually.

The new distillery will offer two Kentucky mash bills that will reflect traditional bourbon whiskey, with plans to launch a first-of-its-kind Kentucky-blended international spirit, according to a news release announcing the project.

The company is reviving the E.J. Curley name, which dates back to the Civil War-era. After Prohibition, it was known as Kentucky River Distillery until it closed in the late 1960s-early 1970s, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.