Green River Distilling Co. was founded by J.W. McCulloch. He began making whiskey in 1885 and traveled the world to promote his brand. Green River Whiskey became synonymous with quality and known for producing some of the finest bourbon in Kentucky. Soon the whiskey was winning international awards, including a gold medal and “best of show” at the Paris Exposition in 1900, and later the grand prize at the 1905 Exposition in Belgium.
To this day, Green River lore is some of the most fascinating in the whiskey world. Known as the “most expensive spirit ever sold,” 20 barrels were once traded for interest in a Colorado gold mine. Songs were penned about the “whiskey without a headache,” and early reviews described it as a “king among whiskeys.”
Sadly, at the height of Green River’s popularity, a fire broke out on the distillery grounds. In just three hours, most of the buildings and whiskey barrels were reduced to rubble. The distillery was rebuilt, but Prohibition was passed and J.W. MCulloch wouldn’t live to restore Green River to glory. In the following decades, the distillery passed hands on several occasions. The Medley Distilling Company was the most well known to operate on the grounds.
In 2014, we found the distillery with such a storied history in ruins. With a great team, brick by brick, building by building, we restored the iconic DSP-KY-10. After two years of hard work, we began distilling in 2016 under the name of O.Z. Tyler, the visionary who founded the company that purchased the distillery.
Now, we’ve come full circle. With the support of J.W. McCulloch’s great-grandson, we are proud to raise the Green River flag on the distillery campus again and begin the next chapter in Green River’s history.
To say he was born with whiskey in his veins may be a stretch, but distilling bourbon has been in Jacob Call’s family for eight generations. An eighth-generation Kentuckian (born and raised in Bardstown), Jacob graduated from Murray State University with a degree in business administration. He started his career in banking, rising in the ranks to Chief Operating Officer before the familial call of the spirits business became too strong.
His grandfather and father had spent many years working at Jim Beam (where his father was mentored by Booker Noe) and his father went on to become Master Distiller at Florida Caribbean Distillers, where Jacob joined the team in 2007. At Florida Distillers, Jacob held various senior management positions in purchasing, bulk sales, and distillery operations.
Jacob joined the team in the fall of 2014 to oversee the renovations. As Master Distiller, he oversees all aspects of whiskey production and warehousing for the facility.
Ron was instrumental—along with his son Jacob—in developing the renovation and operating plan for the Green River Distillery.