Sometimes spirits come with a side of, well, spirits. As in, ghosts.
(And no, we’re not talking about you being haunted by knowing it used to be relatively easy to find Weller 12 and Pappy Van Winkle bourbon products on liquor store shelves. That haunts everybody.)
We can start with Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail, where at Buffalo Trace Distillery,
rickhouse workers reportedly say they have seen a wispy figure moving amongst the barrels of aging whiskey. A tour guide there tells the story that at one point a disembodied voice said, “Get out!” When he didn’t, the voice said, “Get out now!” So, he and other workers there went outside to take a break. And then the building collapsed.
Here’s guessing they all needed a drink after that one. Luckily, they were in the right place for Kentucky’s native spirit.
But other such ghostly incidents have taken place there as well, and when the show “Ghost Hunters” investigated the distillery a few years back, they believed the place was haunted by Colonel Albert B. Blanton, the distillery’s former president. (And, yes, he’s the namesake for Blanton’s Single Barrel, another bourbon that used to be easy to find on retail shelves.)
Other distilleries where paranormal activity has been reported include Jim Beam’s American Stillhouse, Glenns Creek Distillery, and at Wild Turkey Distillery, where former visitor center manager Olivia Ripy says a photo of an apparition was captured – she believes the apparition was a former co-worker who had died there. And that isn’t the only ghost believed to be at Wild Turkey, Ripy says.
In North Carolina, Southern Grace Distilleries is housed in a former prison, which right from the start seems ripe for a haunting. Well, local lore has it that workers have experienced echoey footsteps, disappearing keys and bumps in the night. Some have felt ghostly presences and, apparently, at one point an inmate there had hanged himself while in solitary confinement.
Yikes. And something fishy was apparently caught on film at Savannah Distillery & Ale House. (Seriously, watch it.)
But spirits don’t just roam the distilleries of Kentucky and the U.S. – they’re global. And it’s not just those kinds of spirits makers that attract, well, more spirits. Wineries have deep traditions in cultures worldwide just as distilleries, which means there’s a lot of potential for hauntings.
Most people have heard of Beringer Winery in Napa, and in a large 19th-century home there the specter of founder Frederick Beringer is said to roam. There are plenty of haunted wineries in Napa, actually – there are haunted wineries from New York to Missouri.
Several examples can be found, but one worth pointing out is Marjim Manor in Appleton, N.Y. Built in 1854, the manor-turned-winery is known for – and perhaps allegedly haunted because of – a tragic incident in which the home’s original owner, Shubal Merritt, accidentally shot his son after a hunt in 1865. There are legends of other untimely deaths at the mansion, and as such, a number of spirits are believed to wander the grounds there.
So, as you tip your glass during the spookiest of months, say a cheers to the spirits that came before – in addition to the one in you’re holding.
We may not be the GhostBusters but we can help take some spirits off your hands. Who ya gonna call? That’s right, Epic Cellars! You can start by filling out this form!