Atlanta-based Shortbarrel announced the acquisition of the famous Old Fourth Distillery – the oldest continuously operating distillery in Atlanta and a pioneer in Atlanta’s recent craft distilling movement. With the deal’s closing, Shortbarrel has acquired the rights to the Old Fourth brand, existing product inventory and 1,000 barrels of fine-aged whiskey. The value of the acquisition was not disclosed.

Shortbarrel was founded by friends and fellow whiskey lovers Adam Dorfman, Clinton Dugan and Patrick Lemmond. While still working their other full-time jobs, the trio has built an impressive lineup of whiskeys with a defining calling card of flavor, viscosity and proof. Shortbarrel’s bourbons and rye whiskies are non-chill-filtered. Most clock in at 94 proof or higher, meaning less water is added to the whiskey coming from the barrel, thus retaining more of that deep, rich flavor with an incredibly long finish. The company currently has eight whiskey expressions in the marketplace.

When it opened in 2014 in the heart of the historic Old 4th Ward, Old Fourth Distillery was Atlanta’s first new legal distillery since 1906. Old Fourth’s current product lineup includes vodka, a Southern Dry gin; Lawn Dart, a unique ginger lemon liqueur; and a Bottled in Bond 100 Proof Bourbon with barrels sourced from MGP but aged and blended in Atlanta. All of those products will continue to be made by Shortbarrel under the Old Fourth Distillery brand name.

The original Old Fourth Distillery was shuttered by its previous owners in December of 2022, and the lease for the space was not renewed. Operations will be relocated from the Old Fourth neighborhood to Norcross, Georgia, in April of this year. The new facility will include distilling, aging, blending, single barrel selections, packaging and back-office operations, and a small tasting room for consumers that will open this summer for both Shortbarrel and Old Fourth.

Shortbarrel currently sources whiskey barrels from distilleries outside of Georgia, such as Bardstown Bourbon Company and Green River Distilling. Shortbarrel will soon begin contract distilling bourbon and rye in Atlanta at the Distillery of Modern Art in Chamblee, making the Old Fourth branded whiskeys 100% Atlanta-crafted. The company has secured large distillery contracts outside of Atlanta for its namesake brand, with contract distilling beginning this year in Garrard County, Kentucky.

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