By Ben Sheroan
Source: The News-Enterprise
Boundary Oak expanding to Radcliff
New location could trigger bourbon tourism
Less than six months since firing up his legal still for the first time, Brent Goodin is ready to expand Boundary Oak Distillery.
He plans to add a 500-gallon still — four times the size of his present pot still — plus five fermentation vats at a second manufacturing and bottling plant in Radcliff. Because he will be operating in a city where alcohol sales are authorized, Goodin also will be able to sample and sell products on the premesis, an essential element in order to capitalize on bourbon tourism.
“In the business model for craft distillers, you need to be able to sell out your front door,” Goodin said.
His current distillery is on family property on Battle Training Road in an unincorporated area of Hardin County. He will continue to operate the 125-gallon still and two fermentation vats at that site as well. The fresh spring water naturally filtered through an underground limestone shelf is a key to the quality.
“I’ll tote water from here to Radcliff,” he said. “Without the water, we are just nothing. You need that Kentucky spring water.”
A formal announcement of Boundary Oak’s second phase is Thursday evening in a ceremony being conducted by Radcliff city government.
Although terms have been reached in principle, final details of a long-term lease agreement are being drafted. Neither city leaders nor Goodin would disclose the location. That information is part of Thursday’s program.
Goodin did say it was roughly five miles from his present craft distillery operation and would provide ready access for tourists coming off Interstate 65.
Bourbon tourism and in particular the Bourbon Trail, which attracted 723,503 guests last year, are key reasons for excitement about Goodin’s expansion, Radcliff Mayor Mike Weaver said.
“The way I see it, you get the Bourbon Trail traffic coming between the two cities on Ky. 313,” Weaver said. “They have an opportunity then to visit the other attractions that we have here that they would not otherwise come to.”
Weaver then rattled off a list of tourism destinations ranging from a glimpse of the Gold Vault and activities at the Historic State Theater to stops at the Hardin County Veterans Tribute, the Gen. George S. Patton Museum of Leadership, Saunders Spring Nature Preserve, Hardin County History Museum or the 9-11 memorial at Kentucky Veterans Cemetery-Central.
The executive officers of Hardin County’s two tourism promotion groups have been consulted about Goodin’s plans and agree it offers an exciting potential for the entire county.
“We’re just thrilled,” said Kelly Barron, chief executive officer of the Radcliff-Fort Knox Convention and Tourism Commission. “We’re absolutely so excited.”
“From a tourism stand point, it’s just great. We are super excited for Brent,” said Sherry Murphy, executive director of the Elizabethtown Tourism and Convention Bureau.
Goodin meets two of three qualifications for being accepted onto the Bourbon Trail. His business is a member of the Kentucky Distillers Association and he will satisfy the minimum production requirement of 12 barrels annually. Once licenses are acquired, his Radcliff location would allow him to sell on site, which is the final qualification for consideration.
Goodin, who carries the title master distiller, said the intimacy of a craft distillery offers a unique tourism experience.
“We want to give people the experience of going to a wonderful huge distillery like Jim Beam and then coming to a smaller distillery like Boundary Oak where you can see where the water comes from and you can see how we make it and you can touch the liquor as it comes out of the still,” Goodin said. “Jim Beam, as wonderful as they are, it’s just a different experience.”
Goodin could not identify a date for opening the Radcliff facility. He said renovations plus acquisition and installation of equipment will take time. He envisions a room encircled by windows where guests can watch the distillation, fermentation and bottling processes. The facility also would feature videos explaining the history and culture associated with Kentucky bourbon plus a bar and a gift shop.
Some aspects of timing are beyond his control. He also must obtain an expansion of his federal distillery license and a state sales permit.
Both Goodin and Weaver credited J.J. Duvall, the city’s economic development, planning and building director, with connecting the parties and getting the deal resolved quickly.
“This is a great thing for Radcliff, Hardin County and the region to have this at our backdoor,” Duvall said. “We’re just happy to be able to be at the ground floor of it.”
Ben Sheroan can be reached at 270-505-1764 or [email protected].