Old Steelhouse Distillery Tour Review

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Take a step back in time and explore the abandoned T.W. Samuels Distillery, now the Old Steelhouse Distillery! Though tours are currently paused, read our review to learn about the historic site's fascinating past and exciting future plans to become a bourbon destination. Discover the remnants of the bottling line, the engine room, and more - and see what awaits this Kentucky gem!
Old Steelhouse Distillery
(formerly Old Samuels)
1010 Deatsville Rd
Coxs Creek, KY 40013
(502) 553-3095
Tour Review

Please enjoy our Old Steelhouse Distillery Tour Review!

NOTE: As of April 2024 tours are not being given at Old Steelhouse Distillery. They will resume at some time in the future.

Check out our 1 minute video tour

Old Steelhouse Was Once The T.W. Samuels Distillery

At the junction of Cedar Grove Rd and KY 523, (Deetsville Rd), a quick 8 mile drive northwest of Bardstown, lies the largely forgotten remnants of the former T.W Samuels Distillery. While it was designated a National Historic Site in 1988, distilling had ended some 15-20 years earlier. The distillery had changed hands several times since reopening after prohibition, and in 1974 sold for the last time as a working distillery.

Old TW Samuels Bourbon Bottles
Old TW Samuels Bourbon Bottles
Samuel’s Springs Bottled Water Company

A bit of life continued to linger at the old distillery when Louisville physician, Dr. Arthur Shulthise, bought the property minus the eleven rickhouses. Those had been sold to Heaven Hill Distillery and Maker’s Mark Distillery and are still in use. Around 1987 Dr. Shulthise started the Samuel’s Springs Water Company, tapping in to the same on-site water source the distillery had used since 1933. Also back into use was the distillery’s original bottling line.

Samuels Springs Water Company Bottles and Signs
Samuels Springs Water Company Bottles and Signs

Over 2 decades have passed since the Samuel Springs Water Company closed its doors and all the while, these aging and weathered remains have been holding on for dear life, biding their time, dreaming of a new purpose and a new life. Now, Georgia developer Rick Puig and Kentuckian Ryan Mollenkopf and company plan to tackle this monumentous task.

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A Future Bourbon Tourist Destination

Originally renamed the Old Samuels Distillery and subsequently the Old Steelhouse Distillery (the T.W. Samuels brand is owned by Heaven Hill Distillery), the distillery will be transformed into a bourbon tourist destination a little bit at a time. Plans include a gift shop, a museum, a restaurant and bar, tasting room, event space, and lodging. Once complete, Old Steelhouse Distillery will make a great base station for those exploring the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

Tour Check In, Museum, Future Gift Shop & Restuarant - Old Steelhouse Distillery Tour Review
Tour Check In, Museum, Future Gift Shop & Restuarant

The project began taking shape and Old Steelhouse had begun offering private tours back in 2021. Reservations for their Restoration Tour were able to be made at OldSteelhouse.com. Our tour was given by Adam Inman, who is the Director of Visitor Experience, as well as principal tour guide and chief historian. We were able to see the historic remains of the distillery, as well as visit a museum which contained items from the site. However, tours ceased to be offered in 2022, but should return one day.

Frootbat - Making hard to find liquor easy to buy

A Walk Through History

While the majority of the Old Steelhouse Distillery buildings will require massive renovation, a few are already willing and able to share their long forgotten history. The bottling line room looks as if it is ready for its next spin, and the laboratory shows every sign that the next test is ready to be run. The most unique building is the engine room. Built post prohibition, the coal-fired boiler produced steam which in turn was used to produce electricity for the entire distillery. Each monstrous machine seems ready for action, aching for their return to power.

Regardless of condition however, Adam covers each building, whether it’s intact or not. For example, the distillery room itself was stripped long ago of its equipment.  The only reminders are imprints left on the crumbling cement floor. Its metal walls continue to deteriorate from years of weather and neglect.

Frootbat - Making hard to find liquor easy to buy

What About The Bourbon?

Old Steelhouse Distillery has had a single bourbon release so far, under the Blueprint Bourbon label. You can learn all about it in our Blueprint Bourbon Review.

Train Depot & Outside Fermenters - Old Steelhouse Distillery Tour Review
Train Depot & Outside Fermenters

Weathered or not, a visit to the Old Steelhouse Distillery was definitely worth the trip.  Rarely is there an opportunity to visit an historic site in such condition and then be able to follow its progress as it comes ever so slowly back to life. Adam is a terrific guide and does a great job of bringing back the old days to our mind’s eye. Hopefully we will see the site’s rejuvenation continue, and have the opportunity to visit again one day!

Check out our 1 minute video tour

Although not currently made by the Old Samuels Distillery, you can learn all about the current TW Samuels Bourbon in our TW Samuels Bottled In Bond Bourbon Review.

Original Visit: March 2021; Updated: April 2024

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