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The Henry McKenna Distillery
RD #111, 5 th District
Nelson County, KY

(Est. 1855)


The Henry McKenna brand name persists to this day and the history is well-researched and documented.

1855: The distillery was established by Henry McKenna on his farm in Fairfield, Nelson Co. McKenna was born in 1819 in County Derry, Ireland. He emigrated to the US in 1837 and eventually settled in KY. Grain from his farm fed both the distillery and a mill that he had built, but he later closed the latter and focused on making whiskey. The original distillery was small, producing less than a barrel per day.

1883: The original plant is replaced with a brick distillery with an output of three barrels per day.

1892: Insurance underwriter records compiled in 1892 confirm the distillery was brick, with a metal or slate roof. The property included a frame mill, a hog pen 35 ft west of the still, and a cattle shed 130 ft west.

The still fed four warehouses:
Warehouse A -- iron-clad and located 250 ft east of the still.
Warehouse B -- iron-clad with a metal or slate roof, located 225 ft NE of the still
Free Warehouse -- iron-clad with a metal or slate roof, located 125 ft NE of the still.
An old stone Free Warehouse with a metal or slate roof, also used for bottling. It stood 36 ft east of the still

At that time, it was being operated by Dan and S W McKenna, as Henry McKenna

1893: Henry McKenna died and the distillery was now under the control of his sons, Daniel, James S, and Stafford McKenna.

1918: Prohibition: the distillery is closed.

1934: James and Stafford reopen the distillery, but ultimately sell it to Seagrams. The brand name persists under the Heaven Hill corporate banner.

Review bonded warehouse transactions for this distillery

Internal Revenue recorded warehouse transactions for The Henry McKenna Distillery as follows:
( explain: origin of these records, letter codes )

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