Green River distillery
Green River Distilling Co. began in 1885. | Photo by Sara Havens

In the modern bourbon era, Green River Distilling Co. is considered a newcomer. But in the annals of Kentucky bourbon history, it’s been around since close to the beginning — 1885, to be exact — making it the 10th oldest distillery in the state.

Located in Owensboro, Ky., in the western part of the commonwealth, Green River made its comeback in 2022 with a standard rye bourbon recipe that was both well-crafted and affordable. Since then, they’ve added a wheated bourbon, a rye whiskey and, most recently, a full proof bourbon (bottled at cask strength and non-chill filtered) to their lineup.

And they’ve quickly made a name for themselves in the bourbon industry, winning numerous awards and becoming a go-to whiskey for cocktails and sipping neat.

Green River is now owned by Bardstown Bourbon Company, another distillery CaskX partners with, and this acquisition has given the distillery both the monetary means and manpower needed to propel the brand worldwide.

History of Green River

Part of a still at Green River
Part of the still at Green River

Known as “the whiskey without regrets,” Green River once dominated the bourbon market before Prohibition and even won several international awards, including a gold medal and “best of show” at the Paris Exposition in 1900, and later a grand prize at the 1905 Liege Exposition in Belgium.

According to the website, the bourbon was so popular back then, 20 barrels were once traded for interest in a Colorado gold mine that panned out, earning it the title “most expensive spirit or whiskey ever sold.”

Unfortunately, the distillery was shut down during Prohibition, and most of the original buildings were lost to a fire. The remaining distillery sat dormant for years and changed hands a few times until about 2014, when a group of investors purchased the property to get it back up and running again.

Whiskey started being produced again on the hallowed grounds in 2016, and the distillery was rebranded as Green River in 2022, the same year it was purchased by the company that owns Bardstown Bourbon Co.

Take a Tour of Green River

Green River tasting bar
Belly up to the bar.

Green River Distilling is open for tours five days a week, and if you’re a CaskX client who purchased barrels from the distillery, we offer several VIP trips a year. (Reach out to your barrel rep for details.) But here’s a rundown of what you can expect when you make your way to Owensboro.

The standard tour will give you a behind-the-scenes look at all 28 acres of the historic distillery. You’ll get to see where the magic happens inside, seeing and smelling the mash tanks, still room, laboratory and so much more. You’ll also spend some time in the massive rickhouses on the property where the barrels age spend their years aging to perfection.

The tour is a truly unique grain-to-glass experience, as you get to see the entire process of how bourbon is made — from the grain unloading to the barrel dumping. And, of course, there is an in-depth tasting involved with the expert staff from the distillery.

Green River now has five releases under its belt, which includes a standard rye bourbon, a wheated bourbon, a rye whiskey, a single-barrel expression, and a full proof bourbon, which is the newest to be added. Bottled at cask strength and non-chill filtered, the full proof is perfect for sipping slow.

Try the Barbecue

Owensboro BBQ
Owensboro is known as “The Barbecue Capital of the World.”

Owensboro is famous for their barbecue, more specifically their barbecued mutton and burgoo. You’ll find several hotspots in town that serve up the best, including Moonlite Bar-B-Q, Old Hickory, and Ole South Bar-B-Q.

According to the Visit Owensboro website, it’s the way the restaurants prepare the mutton and burgoo that makes them so tasty.

“Mutton refers to the meat from a sheep that is over a year old. …

It’s not just the fact that the mutton is chopped and barbecued, but how it’s cooked is what makes it such a standout dish. Restaurants that serve mutton use hickory wood and an acidic basting combination of water, vinegar, salt and peppers that breaks down the meat. A slow cooking process of 22 hours helps turn the meat into the tender meals diners enjoy. 

Meanwhile, Owensboro’s famous burgoo is made by both restaurants and locals alike, with several different recipes having been created over the years. However, all burgoo contains a mix of meats including mutton, chicken and pork, as well as a handful of vegetables ranging from carrots to potatoes to lima beans, and more.”


CaskX offers investors the standard rye bourbon mash bill from Green River. To learn more about bourbon barrel investment, click here.

Here are some more photos from the distillery:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *