Hardin County residents lifted their glasses Thursday night to Brent and Melody Goodin in celebration of the official launch of Boundary Oak Distillery bourbon.
The Goodins are owners of the distillery on Battle Training Road and this year will begin producing bourbon that will be sold in two years, once it has aged appropriately. This will be the first legally produced bourbon in Hardin County since the 1890s.
Stone Hearth restaurant hosted a gathering for the official return of legal bourbon production.
“I’m overwhelmed,” Brent Goodin said Thursday at the celebration. “I think ‘overwhelming’ is the best word I can use. It’s just wonderful how a community comes out to support something like this and especially something as historic as a barrel of bourbon.”
The celebration follows the distillery’s distribution of its Kentucky Moonshine product in retail stores this spring.
The barrel to age the first batch of Boundary Oak bourbon was on display at the restaurant and attendees were given the opportunity to sponsor it by purchasing one of the first limited-edition signed and numbered bottles of bourbon in two years, which is the minimum aging time.
Following the first barrel, Goodin said they will age the bourbon for four years at a time.
Visitors were offered a sampling of a Boundary Oak Kentucky Moonshine infused with seasonal flavors such as pumpkin, apple and cinnamon, mixed by Stone Hearth bartenders. An hors d’oeuvres menu with oysters on the half shell, escargot, jumbo shrimp, gourmet vegetables and an assortment of Stone Hearth specialty desserts also was part of the experience.
Ricky Allen graduated with Doodin in 1981 from East Hardin High School. Although Allen lives and works in Bowling Green, he made the drive to Elizabethtown for the celebration.
“Brent wasn’t a partier and any time there was any kind of party, Goodin was the kind of guy who had the same beer all night long,” Allen said.
Allen said he planned on buying one of the first bottles of bourbon to sponsor and support his friend.
“It’s an exciting opportunity for Elizabethtown and Hardin County,” Allen said. “I’m just glad to be here and be a part of it.”
The production of bourbon by Boundary Oaks Distillery likely will increase the number of visitors to the area, according to Elizabethtown’s director of tourism, Sherry Murphy.
It’s the distillery’s goal to ultimately be part of the Bourbon Trail, which attracts around 600,000 people yearly.
Goodin, master distiller, said it’s the water that makes the bourbon from Boundary Oaks special.
“We have the best spring water in the state,” he said.
Frank Smith, a representative from Gov. Steve Beshear’s office, attended to pass along a message from Beshear.
“This revitalized facility, while enhancing the surrounding area, represents a small business success and symbolizes rebirth of the bourbon industry in Hardin County,” Smith read. “… I applaud your commitment to economic development in the area. Kentucky looks forward to the benefits of business and commends the Boundary Oak Distillery for its role in today’s market.”
Hardin County Judge-Executive Harry Berry officially proclaimed Nov. 13, 2014, as Boundary Oaks Distillery Day.
“Tonight, I offer appreciation and thanks from all of the citizens of Hardin County to the Goodin family for yet another plank in our bridge of economic development in this community, another thread, if you will, in the fabric of our economic society here in Hardin County,” Berry said.