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.
The Cincinnati Magazine published a fascinating and detailed story about the history of the Seagram’s 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.”
We were on a day trip to southern Indiana, the Ohio River and Lawrenceburg. The Seagram’s facility is huge, and we decided to drive over to the site, having never done that before. Unfortunately we discovered that the new owners do not offer public tours of this historic distillery. At one time the Seagram’s plant employed over 2800 at the distillery and bottling plant. It is truly an iconic business with a rich and colorful history.