Businessman re-establishes Hardin County in distillery trade
Master distiller Brent Goodin has ushered in a new era for Hardin County, a place in the state’s historic bourbon business.
Goodin’s family has been in the region since the 1700s, specifically in Hardin, LaRue and Nelson counties.
When the Goodin family settled in New Haven, they founded a fort along the Rolling Fork River and distilled alcohol there, he said.
Liquor, he said, often was used as currency to barter for things in the frontier days.
Since that time, the family went into farming and other ventures until his grandmother who, along with his uncles, began working for distilleries. She worked in distilleries for 40 years, he said.
The family may not always have made liquor, but has at times been active in aspects of the distilling industry before Goodin applied for his federal permit to become a craft distiller.
Goodin spent 15 years on the Hardin County planning commission and saw this kind of development in other counties. He said he thought Hardin County needed to be a part of one of the state’s most recognizable industries.
Previously, Goodin was a local businessman for 27 years. He had a piece of property along Battle Training Road that he thought would be perfect for distilling bourbon. It has a natural source of water on the property that flows over soft limestone.
His business, Boundary Oak Distillery, is named after the tree near the water.
He trained in his craft by learning from professional distillers who he calls the best in Kentucky.
“We live in a place that’s a wealth of knowledge about distilling bourbon,” he said. “It’s a great business to be a part of.”
Some of the work has been trial and error, he said. It’s learning what you do and do not want to do.
Production of the product, he said, isn’t exactly an exciting business. You spend a lot of time waiting for it to drip and waiting on the still, he said, adding that’s why moonshiners learned to play the banjo to fill the time while waiting.
Because this is one of Kentucky’s signature industries, he wants Hardin County to be recognized in that history.
“I feel so excited to be able to bring that here and allow Hardin County to be a part of that,” he said.
He’s felt the support from the county. If you are someone who drinks or does not, everyone knows the impact that Kentucky bourbon has worldwide, he said.
Goodin hopes that the Kentucky Bourbon Trail soon makes a stop in Hardin County. This area has a lot to offer tourists who visit, he said.
Craft distillers are limited to making 1,000 barrels annually, he said.
“We want to make the best 1,000 barrels of bourbon ever made in Kentucky,” he said.
He thinks the Hardin County water and grains grown locally will help do that. Using local resources makes Boundary Oak a Hardin County product, he said.
Kenny Tabb has known Goodin since he was a student at East Hardin High School.
“He was outstanding back then and made an impression on me,” Tabb said. “I have kept up with him over the years and noticed that he is a visionary with public relation skills.”
With all Goodin’s recent fame, Tabb said he continues to be a “down-to-earth good guy.”
Becca Owsley can be reached at 270-505-1741 or [email protected]
Getting to know Brent Goodin
Favorite television show: “The Colbert Report”
Favorite book: “The Greatest Generation”
Family: Wife, Melody, and three kids
Pet: A Jack Russel terrier named Sadie