Distilleries in Old Madison County

Dublin Core


Distilleries in Old Madison County


This column is based on information very kindly provided by local historian Jasper Castle. Many people in Madison County do not realize that in 1886, we commercially made our own whiskey right here in the county.

Out on Lancaster Pike, where it crossed Silver Creek, were two major distilleries. They were located close to a source of water and a railroad line ran nearby. These locations included a nearby cooper’s shop to make barrels. Burnham, Bennett and Co. leased warehouse space from W.S. Hume and this warehouse had space for 9,000 barrels.

Burnham, Bennett and Co. had quite an operation going on at its peak. They could ferment 300 bushels a day which would yield three-and-a-half gallons of whiskey per bushel. They also boasted a very impressive address:

Burnham, Bennett & Company

“Warwick” Distillery

Registered Distillery No. 1, 8th District

Madison County, Kentucky

Our major distiller was W.S. Hume and Co. Its label was:

W.S. Hume & Company

Registered Distillery No. 541, 8th District

Madison County, Kentucky

W.S. Hume and Co. fermented 950 bushels of corn per day and again the yield was three-and-a-half gallons per bushel for an impressive 3,325 gallons of whiskey. W. S. Hume had warehouse space for 39,000 barrels. Again, barrels were made on site, as the distillery had its own cooper’s shop.

Both distilleries were closed down when the constitutional amendment for national prohibition, led in no small part by Madison County’s own Frances Beauchamp, was passed in 1919. Neither operation re-opened when the amendment was repealed in 1933. Thanks to Jasper for sharing this bit of Madison’s heritage.


Dr. Fred Engle




Content may be freely copied for personal and educational purposes with appropriate citation. Permission is required to reprint.



Dr. Fred Engle, “Distilleries in Old Madison County,” Madison's Heritage Online, accessed July 13, 2024, https://madisonsheritage.eku.edu/items/show/1880.