The Old Pogue Distillery is getting a new addition in the coming weeks.
A continuous still, also known as a column still, is being added to the Pogue Distillery in Maysville over the next few weeks.
“It’s from Vendome Copper and Brass who did our pot still and made my ancestors’ still back in the 1800s,” said Master Distiller John Pogue. “It’s currently set up to do about a barrel every four hours but it can potentially be set up to do about 14 barrels in an eight-hour shift.”
A continuous still is set up in two columns. One column has steam rising and wash descending through several levels while another column carries the alcohol from the wash, where it circulates until it can condense at the required strength.
According to Pogue, the historical aspect of having the same company that built the stills in the 1800s build the one today was part of the decision making process.
“Doing this whole operation, most of it has been from that historical seed. It’s the driver,” Pogue said. “But full disclosure, Vendome is probably the best in the game. They’re the tried and true.”
Pogue said the entire Pogue Distillery is built on the historical aspects of the distillery.
“Our recipes, equipment, where we are and our water source have historical roots,” Pogue said. “Our modern day products are old brands. Old Maysville Club and Old Pogue are both popular brands from the original distillery.”
The distillery sits across the street from the original distillery created in 1867, according to Pogue.
“Prohibition took us out in the 1920s,” Pogue said. “My great-grandfather owned the company at that time. He survived prohibition selling whiskey as medicine.”
Pogue said that the distillery sold industrial ethanol during World War II. After Pogue’s ancestor sold the company, it continued operation until 1963, taking all of the equipment. The old facility was left vacant until it burned in 1973.
“In the 90s we just started digging through our heritage more,” Pogue said. “It was just kind of a fun hobby to reminisce. One of those old memories were bottles of bourbon, so we started to drink them.”
Pogue said that the family got excited and decided to start distilling bourbon again in 1995, releasing the first batch in 2004.
According to Pogue, the new still is to help support more product to match demand.
“This is an odd business. We cannot make bourbon faster,” Pogue said. “We’re increasing now, but it won’t be until about 2027 until the nine-year-old stock comes of age, so we have to predict what the market will be like in 10 years.”
Pogue said that, at the end of the day, bourbon is about where you make it.
“Nobody uses my water source, my well water or gets the grain from this part of the state,” Pogue said.
According to Pogue, the new still should be operational sometime next month.