Midway Distilling Company logo in black and white.

Midway Distilling Co.

  • USA, Kentucky
  • Gold Medal at The Fifty Best for their 90 Proof Blue Corn Bourbon., Double Platinum at the Ascot Awards by the American Spirits Council of Tasters for their Single Barrel Blue Corn Bourbon.
  • https://www.midwaydistilling.com/
Phone Number
  • +18592172377
  • 158 W Leestown Rd, Midway, KY 40347

Midway Distilling Company rye whiskey bottles in sunlight.

History of Midway Distilling Co.

Early Beginnings and Operations (1916-1920)

The original Midway Distilling Company, located in Midway, Kentucky, began its operations in 1916. Midway, known as Kentucky’s first railroad town, saw the distillery’s operations suspended in 1917 due to the Food and Fuel Control Act.

The barrels from the distillery were then repurposed for bottling medicinal spirits until 1924. Unfortunately, a fire in 1924 destroyed the distillery and its inventory​​.

Midway’s Distilling Heritage

Midway’s distillery district, known initially as Lot 25, was the hub for several distilleries between 1865 and 1877. The district was later relocated to the Northeast corner of Dudley & Gratz, which eventually became the site of the original Midway Distilling Company. The primary water source for these distilleries was Lee’s Branch, a tributary of the Elkhorn Creek​​​​.

Tragic Incident in 1920

In 1920, the Midway Distillery was the site of a tragic event when a robbery led to the deaths of Benjamin Rodgers and Homer Nave. This incident was followed by the lynching of Richard W. James, who was accused of the crime, in 1921​​.

Revival by Bluegrass Distillers (2021)

In 2021, Bluegrass Distillers reclaimed the Midway Distilling name, introducing a line of barrel-aged rye whiskeys. This revival by Bluegrass Distillers is a tribute to Midway’s 155-year history in distilling, blending traditional and modern methods​​​.

Historical Significance of Midway

The city of Midway, founded in 1835, has a significant historical background. It was Kentucky’s first railroad town and has a rich history of distilling bourbon for nearly 100 years from 1865 to 1959.

Midway’s historical roots are deeply connected to the bourbon industry, which has been integral to the town’s identity for hundreds of years​


Awards Won by Midway Distilling Co.

2021 Awards

    • Gold Medal at The Fifty Best for their 90 Proof Blue Corn Bourbon.
    • Gold Winner at the John Barleycorn Awards for their Toasted Oak Bourbon.
    • Silver Winner at the John Barleycorn Awards for their 90 Proof Blue Corn Bourbon.

2022 Awards

    • Double Platinum at the Ascot Awards by the American Spirits Council of Tasters for their Single Barrel Blue Corn Bourbon.

2023 Awards

    • Scored 91 points by Reviewer David Fleming for their Bluegrass Distillers Elkwood Reserve 9-year-old Single Barrel.
    • Scored 90 points by Reviewer Julia Higgins for their Midway Distilling Lee’s Branch 5-year-old Toasted French Oak Finished (Batch 4).

Midway Distilling Co. Tour Information and Experience

The tour experience at Midway Distilling Co., which operates under Bluegrass Distillers, offers a unique insight into whiskey distillation and aging. Here’s an overview of what visitors can expect during their tour:

Tour Overview

The tour typically begins with a visit to the barrel area, where guests can see where the whiskey aging process takes place. This part of the tour allows visitors to understand the importance of barrels in the whiskey-making process.

Distillery Operations

Visitors get to see the main operational areas of the distillery. This includes the cooker (mash tun), where grains are processed, and the pot stills, which are crucial for distillation. The original equipment used at Bluegrass Distillers had been innovatively repurposed, adding a unique aspect to the tour.

Fermentation Process

The tour includes a visit to the fermentation area. Here, guests learn about the fermentation process, including the crucial role of yeast in converting sugars into alcohol. This area showcases the precision and care taken in the fermentation process.

Distillation Process

Guests learn about the two-stage distillation process used at Bluegrass Distillers. The first stage involves separating the distillate’s heads, hearts, and tails. The second stage refines the ‘low wine’ into ‘high wine’, which is then ready for barreling.

  • Expansion and Growth: The tour might also cover information about the growth of Bluegrass Distillers and its expansion plans. The company has purchased a historic property in Midway, KY, for its new distillery, reflecting its commitment to growth and innovation.
  • Aging and Bottling: Visitors see how the whiskey is aged and later bottled. The bottling process at Bluegrass Distillers is notable for being done entirely by hand, showcasing the artisanal aspect of their production.
  • Tasting Experience: Although specific details about the tasting part of the tour weren’t provided in the sources, most distillery tours include a tasting session where visitors can sample various whiskeys produced by the distillery.

Visitor Center and Amenities

The renovated pre-existing historic homestead will be used as the visitor center. This promises to offer a comfortable and informative space for guests to learn more about Midway Distilling Co. and purchase their products.

Historical Significance

The tour also emphasizes the historical significance of the location and the legacy of whiskey production in the area, which adds an educational dimension to the experience.

Flask & Barrel Review of Midway Distilling Co.

As a seasoned whiskey collector who has toured numerous distilleries, I found my visit to Midway Distilling Co. to be quite the experience, deserving a solid 4.7 out of 5. Here’s my take on it:

First off, the setting of Midway Distilling Co. is both charming and historic. Situated in Midway, Kentucky, the distillery has this rich sense of history that really adds to the overall experience. It’s clear from the get-go that these folks have a deep respect for their craft and the legacy of the area.

The tour itself was top-notch. Starting in the barrel area, it was intriguing to see the aging process up close. I’ve seen my fair share of barrels in my time, but the way Midway handles their whiskey aging is something else. There’s a palpable sense of anticipation and care in the air – like they’re nurturing each barrel to maturity.

Moving on to the distillery operations, I was impressed by the blend of traditional and innovative techniques they use. The mash tun and pot stills, essential to their distillation process, were a focal point of the tour. Learning about the transformation from grain to liquid gold was fascinating, especially with the unique equipment they’ve repurposed.

The fermentation process was another highlight. It’s one thing to read about fermentation, but quite another to see it in action. The care they put into maintaining the right conditions for the yeast to work its magic was evident.

Now, the distillation process is where Midway really shines. Their two-stage approach to distillation is meticulous, and it shows in the quality of the whiskey. As someone who appreciates the finer details, I found this part of the tour particularly enlightening.

Of course, no distillery tour is complete without a tasting, and Midway didn’t disappoint. The range of flavors in their whiskeys is impressive. Each sip offered a new layer of complexity, a testament to their craftsmanship.

The visitor center, set in a beautifully renovated historic homestead, was the perfect place to wrap up the tour. It provided a cozy, welcoming atmosphere for browsing their products and learning more about the distillery.

As for the bottling process – it’s all hands-on at Midway. Seeing the entire process from filling to corking to labeling, all done by hand, drove home their operation’s artisanal nature.

In summary, Midway Distilling Co.’s tour offers an insightful, well-rounded experience that’s both educational and enjoyable. It strikes the right balance between respecting traditional distilling methods and embracing innovation. Their passion for whiskey-making is palpable, and it reflects in the quality of their spirits.

This tour is a must if you’re a whiskey aficionado like me. It’s a delightful dive into the heart of Kentucky whiskey craftsmanship, missing just a tiny bit to make it absolutely perfect, hence the 4.7 rating.

What To Do Nearby Midway Distilling Co.

Bluegrass Railroad Museum: Dive into the history of railroading in Central Kentucky. A must-visit for train enthusiasts, it’s located in Versailles, a short drive from Midway​​.

Walter Bradley Park: Perfect for a nature walk or a peaceful picnic. It’s a serene spot right in the heart of Midway​​.

Equus Run Vineyards: If you enjoy a good wine, this vineyard is a great place to visit. Located in Midway, it offers self-guided strolls and private tours and tastings​​.

Weisenberger Mill: Operating since 1865, this mill on South Elkhorn Creek offers a variety of products from flour to cornmeal and grits. It’s a unique spot to learn about the local milling history​​.

Woodford Reserve Distillery: Just a short drive away in Versailles, this distillery offers tours to learn about premium small-batch bourbon production. It’s a great addition to your whiskey-themed trip​​.

Horse-Drawn Trolley Tour: A leisurely way to explore Midway’s charming streets and learn about its history and architecture​​.

Art Galleries: Midway has a thriving arts scene, with galleries showcasing local artists’ works​​.

Seasonal Festivals: Midway hosts various festivals throughout the year, like the Midway Fall Festival and the Midsummer Nights concert series, providing a glimpse into the local culture​​.

Midway Historic Railroad Museum: Learn about Midway’s railroad history and explore vintage train cars and photographs​​.

Bourbon-infused Desserts: Don’t miss trying bourbon-infused cakes or pies at local eateries, blending two Kentucky favorites​​.

Frequently Asked Questions

What restaurants are near Midway Distilling Co.?

The Brown Barrel & Blind Harry’s: It has a rating of 4.5 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can contact them on their phone at +18594032003. Their address is 204 N Gratz St, Midway, KY 40347, United States.

Josie’s Restaurant: This establishment boasts a rating of 4.6 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, their contact number is +18595238328. The restaurant is located at 821 Chevy Chase Pl, Lexington, KY.

DV8 Kitchen – Broadway: It has an impressive rating of 4.8 stars on Google Maps. You can contact them for reservations at +18599550388. The address is 867 S Broadway UNIT 140, Lexington, KY.

What hotels are near Midway Distilling Co.?

Quality Inn Lexington -Horse Park: It has a rating of 4.2 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can contact them at +18594132765. Their address is at 1938 Stanton Way Building A, Lexington, KY 40511.

Capital Plaza Hotel: This hotel boasts a rating of 4.0 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, their contact number is +15022275100. The hotel’s address is 405 Wilkinson Blvd, Frankfort, KY 40601, United States.

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Lexington-Downtown/University, an IHG Hotel: It has a rating of 4.2 stars on Google Maps. You can contact them for reservations at +18593896800. The address is 1000 Export St, Lexington, KY 40504.