Inside the MGPI Distillery, Lawrenceburg, Indiana (Photo Essay)

For Whisky Advocate, I wrote an in-depth feature about the famous–some would say infamous–distillery in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. You can read an online exclusive here. You’ll need to back order the print version.

My camera and I captured the distillery in its entirety. I’ve not made these photos public until now. Here’s the full gallery. Below are my favorite shots.

Most distilleries are polished and have shiny "show off" warehouses. Not at MGPI. These are working warehouses.
Most distilleries are polished and have shiny “show off” warehouses. Not at MGPI. These are working warehouses.

 

MGPI Distillery10
Master distiller Greg Metze is the most underrated distiller of our day. He makes most of the rye whiskey in this country, but receives little credit.

 

Barrels fascinate me. They fascinate me even more when gloves sit atop them with shadows. Who was working these barrels and whose whiskey is this? Questions surround every barrel at MGPI.
Barrels fascinate me. They fascinate me even more when gloves sit atop them with shadows. Who was working these barrels and whose whiskey is this? Questions surround every barrel at MGPI.

 

This is a 95-percent rye whiskey mash. It smells so distinct, almost like you're standing in the middle of a rye harvest. While bourbon's mash skews toward sweet and earthy, rye is undeniably spicy in a bakery way.
This is a 95-percent rye whiskey mash. It smells so distinct, almost like you’re standing in the middle of a rye harvest. While bourbon’s mash skews toward sweet and earthy, rye is undeniably spicy in a bakery way.

I found Greg's hands fascinating. He broke his index finger playing softball and has earned those callouses. I thought they contrasted nicely against the yellow kernels. I found Greg’s hands fascinating. He broke his index finger playing softball and has earned those callouses. I thought they contrasted nicely against the yellow kernels.

Taking the photo of these fermenters was actually quite hard. I am proud how this guy turned out, knowing I nearly fell taking the photo.
Taking the photo of these fermenters was actually quite hard. I am proud how this guy turned out, knowing I nearly fell taking the photo.
The control room. Talk about high tech!
The control room. Talk about high tech!
MGPI keeps track of its clients with codes and papers.
MGPI keeps track of its clients with codes and papers.
Can you say workhorse?
Can you say workhorse?
And finally the whiskey. Like many former Seagram's facilities, the tasting panel tastes whiskey at 40 proof, not 40 ABV, but 40 proof. Helps the palates last longer, I suppose.
And finally the whiskey. Like many former Seagram’s facilities, the tasting panel tastes whiskey at 40 proof, not 40 ABV, but 40 proof. Helps the palates last longer, I suppose.

 

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4 Replies to “Inside the MGPI Distillery, Lawrenceburg, Indiana (Photo Essay)”

  1. Enjoyed the article and pictures. We live in northern Kentucky now and often pass by this distillery. Talk about a workhorse vs a prancer. Just goes to show you that you don’t have to be pretty to go to the dance. If you get to northern Kentuckycall and come over.

  2. Cool.
    Until recently Seagrams Gin label used to mention Lawrenceburg, as well as mentioning the gin being aged. The new Seagrams bottle says bottled in Fort Smith, AR, no mention of aging, and I don’t think it taste as good – a shame because it was my go-to cheap gin. So I am guessing they no longer make Seagrams Gin in Lawrenceburg.

  3. Interested in starting a business that bottles, markets, fine spirits. We can get the license, bottles, labels, etc. and have the resources to make it happen. Can you provide us with price lists and information on production, bottling, etc.?

    Thank you.

    Richard Barnes, Ph.D.
    Yale Business Center, LLC

  4. Is seagrams bringing back the original seagram’s dark honey in rectangler bottle? The new stuff isnt even close to the original. Please bring back the old stuff. thanks

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