Augusta to Release Buckner’s 17, Hires Master Distiller


June 10, 2024

Buckner's 17 Year bottle Augusta Distillery

Augusta Distillery will officially launch Buckner’s 17, the newest bourbon in its award-winning Buckner’s series, during the distillery’s June 15 event, Buckner’s, BBQ and Bluegrass.

Guests will be among the first to purchase bottles of the 17-year-old, unfiltered bourbon (retail price: $399.99) while enjoying home-style barbeque from regional favorite Rescue BBQ and the musical stylings of Slippery Creek Band. 

“Buckner’s 17 has had a lot of craft and care poured into it, and we are excited to finally give our fellow bourbon lovers a taste,” Ryan Edwards, president of Augusta Distillery, said in a news release.

He notes the bourbon is the highly anticipated follow-up to its award-winning brothers, Buckner’s 15 and Buckner’s 13, the latter of which was named World’s Best Bourbon in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition (2023).

“This event is not just an opportunity to try some quality bourbon, but also for the public to get to know us,” he said.

Buckner’s, BBQ and Bluegrass is open to the public on Saturday, June 15, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Normal distillery retail sales, operations and tours will be available throughout the day, as well. Tickets for the private tasting with Castle will be held, Friday, June 14 at 3:30 p.m. and 5 p.m., are limited and can be found on Augusta Distillery’s website here.

Augusta also announced the appointment of Alexandra “Alex” Castle as its first Master Distiller and Director of Distillery Operations. A native of Burlington, Ken., Castle brings her extensive bourbon distilling expertise to her home state, overseeing all production operations in anticipation of one of the bourbon industry’s most eagerly awaited distillery unveilings.

“We are delighted to welcome Alex to our team,” Edwards said. “Alex’s stellar reputation precedes her. Her exceptional bourbon and distilling knowledge will provide an immediate boost to Augusta Distillery’s mission to produce world-class bourbon. We consider ourselves fortunate to have her on board.”

“I have always dreamed of returning to my home state and making Kentucky bourbon whiskey once more.” -Alex Castle

“I’m incredibly excited to be joining the team at Augusta,” Castle said. “I have always dreamed of returning to my home state and making Kentucky bourbon whiskey once more. I am grateful for the team at Augusta Distillery and the trust they’re putting in me. I know it’s going to be an amazing journey and we’re just getting started.” 

In addition, Castle will guide an exclusive tasting experience and distillery tour one day ahead of the official Buckner’s 17 release on June 14. She will lead two tastings, at 3:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., that include all four Buckner’s expressions—10, 13, 15 and 17—a commemorative bottle of Buckner’s 17 and choice of tulip, rocks or Glencairn glassware. A limited number of tickets for Castle’s behind-the-scenes tasting are available at for $699. 

Castle’s affinity for whiskey traces back to her upbringing in the heart of the country’s bourbon belt. Her journey led her to pursue a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Kentucky. Most recently, Castle was the master distiller at Old Dominick Distillery in Memphis. Prior to that, she was a distiller at Wild Turkey in Lawrenceburg, Ken.

In addition to establishing herself as a renowned distiller, Castle has been a devoted industry advocate. In 2020, she was named the first female president of the Tennessee Distillers Guild, for which she has been instrumental in bolstering tourism for Tenn.’s burgeoning whiskey trail. She has also been active in industry advocacy groups, including her role as a board member of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.

Castle officially joined Augusta Distillery to fire up the company’s stills on May 28. The company’s initial bourbon barrels will roll out in June 2024.