Willett Distillery

The Willett family has a long history of working in and around the Bourbon industry. A. Lambert Willett’s father helped found the distillery that would eventually produce the Barton Brands line of Whiskeys before failing health forced him to sell and retire.

Lambert worked for 25 years in other distilleries gaining ownership rights, buying a farm, and saving his cash. His son Thompson came along, served a few years under his father at the Whiskey plant, then the two men launched The Willet Distillery in 1935.

The entire operation is still a family affair, located on the family farm outside of Bardstown, Kentucky. The business has vacillated between two operating names: Willet Distillery and Kentucky Bourbon Distillers. This continues to confuse people to this day.

But for now the company has settled on using the historic Willet name. They have three different stills — a traditional column still, a pot still, and a rare “doubler” or “thumper” still used for secondary distillation.

There are eight aging rick-houses on the site that hold a total of between 40,000 and 50,000 barrels at a time. From their signature Willet line, to Michter’s Bourbon, Kentucky Pride, Johnny Drum, Old Bardstown, and about a dozen other brands.
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Willett Distillery