Medley re-opening music to KY ears

Charles Medley Distillers, which just changed ownership, is back in action with announced plans for a $10 million renovation project that will re-open its Owensboro, KY, facility.

The purchaser is Angostura Ltd., the Trinidad company best known for its rum. The Owensboro plant has been closed for nearly 16 years. The upgrade will include making it a barrel-manufacturing site as well as a distillery.

Angostura plans to create a new Charles Medley Kentucky Bourbon label. The $3 million purchase price for the distillery included 23 acres, five warehouses and the stillhouse, but not Charles Medley's private label -- called Wathen's Kentucky Bourbon, a label his late father, R. Wathen Medley, once owned. Medley told the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer newspaper that he will continue to bottle that brand himself.

Angostura bought the former Seagram's distillery in Lawrenceburg, IN, last year and will make that its North American headquarters. The Owensboro project will create 30 to 40 permanent jobs by the fall of this year, according to group director Patrick Patel.

The distillery has a capacity of 1.5 million proof gallons a year, he said, and he plans to increase that to 2.5 million - 3 million.

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