In 1887, legendary distiller Colonel Edmund Haynes Taylor, Jr. bought this plot of land nestled in idyllic Millville, Kentucky. With a vision for a new kind of distilling experience, he built a destination – characterized by unique architecture, European gardens, and a one-of-a-kind springhouse overlooking the peaceful Glenns Creek and the steeply wooded hillside that feeds it. In combination with his bourbon production, the Old Taylor Distillery was groundbreaking. Bourbon tourism was born here.
The space changed owners and occupants over the next century.
By 1972, the distillery had been abandoned. It sat in this declining condition for over 40 years. In 2014, Kentucky native Will Arvin went against cautious advice and left his law practice to pursue his dream of owning a bourbon distillery. He fell in love with this site immediately, and partnered with Wes Murry to acquire the land. They recruited Marianne Eaves (Barnes) from a local spirits giant, where she was on-track to become Master Distiller. She is now Kentucky’s first female bourbon Master Distiller since Prohibition.
Inspired by Colonel Taylor’s vision and the property he built, the Castle & Key team is driven to restore the property to the unique bourbon destination it once was and produce a suite of spirits that are as uncompromising in quality as Colonel Taylor’s.
Castle & Key believes in the core principles that drove Colonel Taylor to lay the foundation for the Bottled-in-Bond Act. His efforts to save an industry from itself left an undeniable stamp on the character of all bourbons produced since then.
The Castle & Key team takes responsibility in restoring the Old Taylor Distillery beyond the sticks and bricks. Our facility was built on the ideal that consumers could rely on the quality behind the product they were consuming. And as such, our goal is to further Colonel Taylor’s efforts by providing our customers with a product thoughtfully conceived, made from scratch, and aged to maturity. Profit will not push us to release product that is not yet ready for consumption.
We don’t follow the status quo.
We will never compromise the Castle & Key experience.
Raised and educated in Kentucky, Marianne’s rise in the spirits industry is a product of dedication, hard work, and natural born talent. After graduating with a chemical engineering degree, Marianne pursued her passion for fine spirits, working her way up the ranks at a global spirits company until she earned the title of Master Taster.
In 2015, she was sought out by Will and Wes to be their partner and the Master Distiller of Castle & Key Distillery. After her first visit, the decision to join this bold team was clear. She would leave her comfortable corporate job and strike out to fulfill a shared vision.
Barnes is a leader in the new generation of spirits professionals shaping the industry. Her process and vision are informed by her uncompromising commitment to quality, authenticity, and innovation.
Will is a lifelong Kentucky resident and a career lawyer, until he founded Castle & Key Distillery. His experience as an attorney with numerous construction and real-estate projects made him well-suited for the challenges of resurrecting this bourbon icon.
In 2014, Will left his law practice behind to pursue his dream of owning a Kentucky bourbon distillery. He discovered this site online, and, as luck would have it, it was a thirty-minute drive from his home in Nicholasville. One visit, and he fell in love.
Originally from Pennsylvania, Wes came to Kentucky in 2011. His background is varied having worked in the fields of real estate, consulting, and finance. When presented with the opportunity to partner with Will Arvin in bringing the historic Old Taylor Distillery back to life, he couldn’t turn it down.
The opportunity to revive a historic property from ruin, to launch a new set of brands, and to build a company around a quickly growing beverage category was too great of an enticement.
Louisville businessman Brook Smith joined the developing partnership behind Castle & Key in 2016. Smith’s foray in the food and beverage industry began over a decade ago when he purchased iconic Louisville restaurant 610 Magnolia, bringing Chef Edward Lee from New York to Kentucky.
Smith brings to the project his business acumen as well as informed hospitality experience and innovative vision. Beyond Castle & Key, Brook, in partnership with others, just released their sixth vintage of a Napa Valley boutique cabernet, Post Parade, which has consistently received acclaim from California to Kentucky.