We’re just one mile of Deatsvill, Kentucky. This is T.W. Samuels Distillery, named after the founder. T.W. Samuels is the great-grand father of Bill Samuels Senior, the founder of Maker’s Mark distillery. Bill actually worked these very grounds you see here in the 30s and 40s.
As you can see by this fly-over, the distiller lays dormant and vegetation has started to grow through-out the building. While distillation started on this property in 1844, in 1909 a tragic fire burned down the distillery and 6 warehouses destroying 9,000 barrels of whisky.
In 1933, after prohibition, the distillery was re-finances and re-organized. Robert L. Block of Cincinnati became the president, and the Samuels family ran the distillery.
During that time the distillery made T.W. Samuels Bottled-in-Bond and a 90 proof whisky with the same name. While the whisky sold well, by the 40s, Robert Block wanted to sell the distillery. Bill Samuels did not. Samuels attempted to buy the distillery, but when that failed, he took a buy-out. That was a smart move on the part of Bill Samuels. The buy-out gave him the funds necessary to start Maker’s Mark distillery, and not long after, T.W. Samuels closed down.
In 1950 the company made changes to the way it made whisky. Instead of using the traditional old mash tubs, they used continuous cookers. It allowed them to make far more whisky, but the whisky had a burnt taste. The 1950 and 1951 whiskies sold did not do well. Sales dropped. The distillery stopped production in 1952.
The distillery remains abandoned, but the warehouses are still used today to mature Maker’s Mark and Heaven Hill whisky. Bill Samuels, of course, started his own distillery in the 50s and created the Maker’s Mark distillery. He never really quite liked the whisky made from this distillery, he thought it was too bitter. It’s for this reason he was careful in selecting the Maker’s Mark recipe.