Great bourbon starts with the good water at Lawrenceburg

Driving along US 50 through Lawrenceburg, Indiana, it is hard to miss the large complex of tall red brick buildings and multiple silver tanks that are part of the former Seagrams Distillery plant that straddles the Lawrenceburg and Greendale city boundaries. The current owner/operator of the facility is now MGP Ingredients, based out of Kansas.

This building has six floors (two of which are underground) of aging racks for the 550 pound barrels of whiskey

The Cincinnati Magazine published a fascinating and detailed story about the history of the Seagrams Distillery, its current owners, and the ins and outs of the distillery business around the country. Read that article here. 

This paragraph is from the Cincinnati Magazine article.  “According to (Master Distiller Greg) Metze, it all starts with the water. MGP Ingredients sits on an aquifer, just a short walk from the Ohio River (most of the facility is actually in Greendale). That 56-degree water—low in sulfur and iron, high in calcium, and limestone-filtered—lets MGP make a lot of whiskey, and also have a continuous source for cooling the equipment. That’s why there were so many distilleries in Lawrenceburg in the 1800s. MGP’s began life as the Rossville Union Distillery in 1847; after Prohibition, in 1933, it was purchased by the legendary Canadian company Seagram. Right next door was Squibb, which opened in 1846 (though another distillery, Dunn and Ludlow, was on that patch of land in 1807) and became part of the Delaware company Schenley in 1933.”

The tower houses multi-story continuous column stills

We drove by the facility last weekend during our day trip in the area. It is huge, and what we found was that unfortunately it does not offer public tours of this historic distillery. At one time the Seagrams plant employed over 2800 at the distillery and bottling plant. It is truly an iconic business with a rich and colorful history.

19 thoughts on “Great bourbon starts with the good water at Lawrenceburg

  1. That’s a big building. I keep a bottle of 101 proof whiskey by the snake cage. I call it Snake whiskey. I had to use snake whiskey one time to get my 60-pound blood python off me when she mistook my hand for a rat. When a giant snake has its teeth in you, constricting you, the easiest way to get the snake off of you is to pour a little Whiskey on its face. Very hot water, hot coffee, or other hot liquid would work also, but whiskey is the best snake-removing agent. The snakes let go really quickly once that whiskey starts burning. When Tristan had to take the snakes for a few years, the 5th of snake whiskey went with the snakes. She had a vet with PSTD staying with them at that time. When his girlfriend broke up with him, he drank the bottle of snake whiskey to drown his sorrows.

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  2. I used to drink Seagram’s. 7 & 7 was my drink, many many years ago. There’s an entry in my diary (1981!!!) that says that Anacone’s Bar in Buffalo has “7 & 7’s for only 70 cents!” & that I was planning to be a regular there. & I was … until it closed in 2007. But I wasn’t drinking 7 & 7’s anymore. About six months ago, I decided to try one again & I thought it was way too sweet! I rarely drink at all now but when I do, I drink Labatt’s Blue.

    Great article. I never wanted to visit Indiana before I started reading your blog.

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    • Too bad your favorite watering hole closed up! The Cincinnati Magazine article referenced with the link provided actually refers to 7&7! It’s kind of fun. And come visit us in Indiana! If we’re not traveling out of state ourselves we’d love to show you around.

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    • The Hollywood Casino is at Lawrenceburg. It was the site of first casino riverboat on the Ohio. Remember back then when the casinos were on a real boat that had to, by law, go out on the river? We did not stop at the casino this trip.

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