A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Rural Blog: Big bourbon making town puts brakes on new whiskey warehouses close to residential areas


A Kentucky town whose name has been almost synonymous with whiskey making has had about enough of the bourbon boom, or at least a piece of it.

“The Bardstown City Council has voted down the Planning Commission’s recommendation to allow distilled spirits warehouses on agricultural tracts of 20-100 acres as a conditional use,” Randy Patrick reports for The Kentucky Standard.

“Recently, the Nelson County Fiscal Court tabled an identical proposal for rural and suburban areas outside Bardstown so that the magistrates could have more time to consider the regulation change and possible ramifications.”

(From Barton 1792 Distillery Communications)

(From Barton 1792 Distillery Communications)

“Councilman Bill Buckman said the council’s no vote . . . lets the county know it doesn’t want craft bourbon distilleries and rickhouses too close to the city,” Patrick writes. “Those distilleries and warehouses, he said, bring with them problems such as whiskey mold, which gets on people’s houses and cars and is hard to remove. He said that pending on the outcome of Louisville court cases about the mold, more whiskey makers are looking south toward Bardstown to build their warehouses.”

“I would like to see a no vote to send a message to our county magistrates,” Buckman said. “We’re seeing a lot more small distilleries, and they’re encroaching right up on our city limits.”

Those distilleries and warehouses, he said, bring with them problems such as whiskey mold, which gets on people’s houses and cars and is hard to remove.

He said that pending on the outcome of Louisville court cases about the mold, more whiskey makers are looking south toward Bardstown to build their warehouses. That’s why there are some going up in Cox’s Creek, he said.

Unless something is done to prevent the spread of the distilleries and warehouses, Buckman said, “we’re going to have a Maple Hill all over Bardstown.”

Maple Hill is the neighborhood adjacent to the Barton 1792 Distillery.

“In the long run, I think it will be detrimental to our economy and our city,” he said.

At the beginning of the meeting, Councilman Roland Williams made a motion to approve the commission’s recommendation, but withdrew it after Councilman Fred Hagan and Buckman raised concerns.

“I think we need to back away from this,” Hagan said. “I don’t think it’s appropriate in the city.”

He said he could think of only three pieces of property in Bardstown that might meet the criteria of the ordinance, and that land would be better used for houses and businesses. He said it could discourage future growth in the city.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

The Rural Blog is a digest of events, trends, issues, ideas and journalism from and about rural America, from the IRJCI, based at the University of Kentucky. The Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues is an extension program for rural journalists and news outlets. It takes no positions on issues and advocates only for strong news coverage, responsible commentary and things that make them possible, such as open-government laws. For more information see www.RuralJournalism.org.


Related Posts

Leave a Comment