Potter Jane Distillery has the bourbon pedigree. Jane Bowie and Denny Potter left the friendly confines of Maker’s Mark to embark on their journey. Jane was the innovation department leader and Denny was Maker’s Mark Master Distiller. They both loved working for Makers, but the pull of creating something they could call their own was too much.
A trend in the bourbon industry is seasoned employees departing to start their own distillery. Last year, former Old Forester Master Taster Jackie Zykan left and created Hidden Barn. Others like Jeff Arnett, previously of Jack Daniels starting Company Distillery, and Jacob Call, formerly of Green River Distillery, just announced the groundbreaking of Western Kentucky Distillery in Beaver Dam, Kentucky.
Both Jane and Denny wanted to return to basic procedures. Back to the basics includes lower barrel entry proof and smaller warehouse aging. Springfield, Kentucky’s new $50 million distillery will span 153 acres and 36,000 square feet. The two rickhouses will be capable of storing 24,000 barrels. Plans include a smaller experimental warehouse for testing “micro-climates” and a tasting room in downtown Springfield.
“From day one, we were all about process. We knew we wanted a 36” column, 10,000-gallon mash tubs, and 20,000-gallon fermentation tanks when we walked into that first project meeting. Here is the temperature range and the barrel entry proof, so we need many cistern tanks. From a functionality point of view, we’ve always looked at this from the eyes of the operator,” said Bowie.
Both want to age the barrels by at least four to six years. With that amount of time, there may be some contract distilling in the future. The timeline is set for January 2025 for full operations, but with supply chain delays and weather, it could be pushed back by a couple of months.