Local legend returns to Troy after 120 years


TROY — The journey to bring Hayner Bourbon back to Troy first began on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

“We visited all those distilleries, and that’s where our love of bourbon began. After that tour, we revisited the Hayner Whiskey Museum, which is inside the Hayner Cultural Center here in Troy. We asked the question: ‘Could we launch this? Could we revive this brand?’ And after two years of getting the necessary permits, it turns out you can. We’re very excited about it,” Greg Taylor, co-owner of Hayner Distilling, said.

Taylor owns and operates Hayner Distilling with his business partner, Andrew Wannemacher. He describes both himself and Wannemacher as community-oriented; both serve on non-profit boards in the area and while working on bringing Hayner bourbon back to the area, saw it as an opportunity to give back to the community. A portion of the profit from every bottle sold will be donated to the Hayner Cultural Center.

“We’re very fortunate that they are supportive of this endeavor and of us re-launching the Hayner Distilling Company. It was the obvious thing to do — from the very beginning, we wanted to donate back to them,” Taylor said.

The process for recreating Hayner Bourbon began with extracting samples of the original Hayner Bourbon from 120 years ago, courtesy of the Hayner Cultural Center. Taylor and Wannemacher then took the samples to the Bardstown Bourbon Company in Nelson County, Kentucky, where it was analyzed and then blends were made and tested, before the final product was reached. While the blend is 40% 13-year-old Kentucky bourbon, and the remaining 60% is 4-year Kentucky bourbon, Taylor says it comes close to the original Hayner Bourbon.

“The 120-year-old whiskey was amazing, which is a good story — back before prohibition, whiskey was called gut rot. The purpose of drinking whiskey back then was to get drunk, but the Hayner whiskey from 120 years ago is some of the best whiskey I’ve ever tasted. This is very complimentary of it — it has a lot of the same tasting notes. It’s very sweet, it’s very soft. We’re very proud of it,” Taylor said.

While the first batch of bourbon slated to be sold was distilled in Kentucky, Taylor said that all batches after will be distilled at the Hayner Distillery. Included in that first batch is 500 bottles, postmarked June 4, 2021, that will be sold Friday, June 4 and Saturday, June 5 at the distillery. The June 4 postmark honors the first bottling of Hayner Bourbon in over a century and commemorates the history of the whiskey, as well as its return to the Troy community.

“We’re very excited to have the opportunity to bring it back for the community. We love the community, we love bourbon, and it’s such a perfect combination of the two. I think people will be very pleased with the product,” Taylor said.

The first batch of commemorative bottles will be on sale from 5-9 p.m. on Friday, June 4 and Saturday, June 5 at Hayner Distillery, 619 Lincoln Ave., Troy. Hayner Bourbon will be available in state liquor stores in Miami County and surrounding counties starting July 1. For more information, visit https://www.haynerdistilling.com/.

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