Several months ago, Jane Bowie and Denny Potter left the security of their jobs at Maker’s Mark to start their own distilling venture. Jane was the lead person in the innovations department and Denny was the Master Distiller at Maker’s Mark. They were happy in their jobs and left on good terms. They only left because they both had a dream of creating their own whiskey – a whiskey that returned to several basic procedures that were more common in the 1950s than they are today. Procedures like a lower barrel entry proof and smaller aging warehouses. This dream has started to become a reality with the ground breaking of the Potter Jane Distillery.
Bowie laughingly tells people that the name works as either a British children’s clothing store or a distillery. I think it is a refreshingly good name – it harks back to the 19th century with names like Dant & Head, Mattingly & Moore and more recently, Stitzel-Weller. The name does not pretend to be something that it is not, just a distillery with two talented people who want to make good whiskeys. I said, I like they name.
The distillery is located in Washington County, Kentucky in Springfield. They are also planning to open a tasting room in the downtown area of Springfield. They have already purchased an old storefront in Springfield for this purpose.
The distillery is going to be an attractive building with twin towers – one for the column still and the other for the grain elevator and bins. They are designing the inside of the building for tours with easy access to the fermenters and they are going to place the doubler on the second level so it is easy for visitors to see it. Most doublers are hidden away in a back corner of the ground floor.
They are building two warehouses of about 20,000 barrels capacity as they build the distillery with plans to start two more as soon as they finish the first two. They have land for about a dozen warehouses in total.
Jane and Denny are hoping to have whiskey in the bottle in four to six years, according to Denny, six to eight years if Jane gets her way. This does lead me to suspect that they are contract distilling somewhere as we speak. That would allow them to release a four year whiskey in four years when their distillery is a good two years from being able to make their own whiskey there. I do hope that they are contract distilling somewhere.
I am excited and happy for Jane and Denny. They are two talented whiskey people with over 30 years experience in the industry between the two of them. I am sure they are going to make very good whiskeys and they will be successful. All they need now is for a little good fortune to shine on them until they are selling great whiskey.
Photos Courtesy of Maggie Kimberl and Rosemary Miller