The Old Prentice Distillery is the present day Four Roses Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. This image is of the distillery after it was purchased by J.T.S. Brown & Sons in 1894 and rebuilt in 1910. Under J.T.S. Brown & Sons, the distillery was rebuilt with a Spanish Mission style of architecture popular in Southern California. Creel Brown, one of the sons in J.T.S. Brown & Sons, experienced this style of architecture in his travels to California. This image was created as an advertising piece that could be given to taverns and liquor stores who sold the brand. It depicts the distillery in the background with the waterfall in the foreground. It looks like an oil painting, but is actually a lithograph on canvas. The Salt River and the trees play such a large part in the image that some people do not recognize it as a distillery picture at first glance.
There was a mill at the site dating to 1817. Distilling started there in the 1880s. J.T.S. Brown & Sons purchased the distillery in 1894 and renamed it the “Old Prentice Distillery”. In 1910, J.T.S. Brown’s son, Creel Brown, who was fond of the Spanish Mission style of architecture, decided to rebuild the distillery buildings in this style. He also had his Florida home built in this style at the same time. It can be assumed that he was influenced by E.H. Taylor, Jr. & Sons and the castle-style distillery they owned a few miles away and wanted something equally as interesting and attractive at their site. The fact that they were proud of the distillery is witnessed by the fact that they created this advertising piece for customers.
Prohibition closed the distillery. After Prohibition it was owned briefly by Julius Kessler Distilling Company before being purchased by Joseph E. Seagrams & Sons in 1942. Seagrams changed the name to the Calvert Distilling Company, one of their subsidiary companies, and eventually to Four Roses Distillery. The distillery still has the Spanish Mission style of architecture and Four Roses has worked hard to keep that style in any new construction or expansions. This makes the distillery one of the most recognized distilleries in Kentucky with a bit of Southern California found in Anderson County, Kentucky.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller