Bourbon making returns to Owensboro with revival of historic distillery

OWENSBORO, Ky. (July 30, 2015) — Crafting fine bourbon is part of Owensboro’s heritage, and that distinctly Kentucky tradition is returning with the revival of an historic distillery.


Governor Steve Beshear previously announced the reopening of the 130-year old Charles Medley Distillery, purchased last year by Terressentia Corp. Today the governor returned to Owensboro for a groundbreaking and dedication ceremony to rename the distillery.


The facility will be named the O.Z. Tyler Distillery in memory of the co-inventor of the TerrePURE distilling process.


“This is an exciting time for our distilling industry and a historic milestone for Owensboro, and it is great to see historic facilities like this one coming back to life,” said Gov. Beshear.


The $25 million renovation to the 28-acre site will be complete within 18 months. When fully operational the distillery will annually produce 30,000 barrels of bourbon and whiskey for the O.Z. Tyler spirit brands.


“While we are waiting for the return of bourbon distilling in Owensboro there are places available to enjoy one of Kentucky’s finest products,” said Shannon Wetzel, executive director of Visit Owensboro.


Such a place is The Miller House restaurant, a former mansion in the historic district with a cozy downstairs bar called Spirits. The bar offers more than 400 bourbons and is the largest of its kind in western Kentucky. The distinction earned Spirits a place on The Bourbon Review list of “55 Best Bourbon Bars in America.”


The distillery is one of the region’s oldest, dating back to its bourbon-making roots in 1885. The ongoing popularity of bourbon led the parent company back to Owensboro for a good reason.


“From the first time we visited Owensboro, we have been impressed with the hospitality, progressive thought and passion of the community,” said Earl Hewlette, CEO of TerrePURE, a division of Terressentia. “We are delighted to play a part in restoring an historic distillery.”


A visitor experience and possibly joining the Kentucky Bourbon Trail are possible future additions to the distillery property, according to Hewlette.


Find out more about Owensboro and Daviess County at or call (270) 926-1100. Stay informed of Owensboro events and happenings through Facebook at