Telling an Original Story as It Unfolds

In 1887, Colonel Edmund Haynes Taylor, Jr. bought a plot of land near Frankfort, Kentucky, to start a new kind of bourbon distillery, one where the experience was almost as important as the product. He called it Old Taylor Distillery. Now, that site is being restored and reimagined by a close group of crazy people inspired by Taylor’s legacy. With a vision of their own.

Of the early trailblazers in bourbon distilling, Colonel EH Taylor is one of the best-remembered because he made an indelible stamp on the industry – in both production and marketing. He started in the industry as a banker, financing distilleries. From there, he started his own production. In 1897, he led the fight in Congress for the Bottled-in-Bond Act, a piece of legislation that created a legal standard for the quality of bourbon whiskey. He held the product’s quality to the strictest standards.

Old Taylor DistilleryOld Taylor Distillery

The Old Taylor Distillery was a lightning rod for his revolutionary ideas. He built a one-of-a-kind destination. The space changed owners and occupants over the next century, and by 1972, the site was abandoned.

In 2014, Kentucky native Will Arvin left his law practice to pursue his dream of owning a bourbon distillery. Although the Old Taylor Distillery site was in disrepair and overgrown, he saw something special. He partnered with Wes Murray and Marianne Barnes, a Master Taster from a local spirits giant. Marianne heads their distilling, and is now Kentucky’s first female bourbon Master Distiller since Prohibition.

Castle and Key Distillery Branding Portraits

The Castle & Key story is a compelling one. But it didn’t get the name Castle & Key until February, 2016. And their logo followed shortly after. With a name and a foundational visual identity in place, Castle & Key engaged us to help them tell their story as it unfolded. We worked with the partners to build out the Castle & Key brand identity through design and language. Language became an integral part of the project in order to solidify the Castle & Key voice. Using evocative language, Castle & Key’s voice carved out a new place for this visionary brand. All of the language was rooted in their tagline.

Castle and Key Distillery Branding Slogan

Even a brief visit to the Castle & Key site is enough to spark the imagination. We brought Magnus Lindqvist down to Millville to experience it. His warm, expressive photos showcase the beauty of this place.

Castle and Key Distillery BrandingCastle and Key Distillery Branding Fermentation Tanks PhotographyCastle and Key Distillery Warehouse B PhotographyCastle and Key Distillery Warehouse B PhotographyCastle and Key Distillery Springhouse PhotographyCastle and Key Distillery Branding CornCastle and Key Distillery branding Photography

From there, we collaborated with the Castle & Key team to create a digital experience that mirrored the on-site experience. The Castle & Key website uses branded language, compelling photography, and broad design to showcase the brand’s vision. The distillery is currently running behind-the-scenes tours of their restoration process, but the website gives a glimpse into the site’s future. We also worked with them to launch their e-commerce platform, providing them with custom product photography for an easy-to-use online shop.

Castle and Key Distillery Branding Responsive WebsiteCastle and Key Distillery Branding Product PhotographyCastle and Key Distillery Branding Product Photography 2

Castle & Key Distillery’s progress has been ongoing since 2014. The site’s restoration has been in motion for years. And the products’ distillation has received similar thought, care, and attention. Because the timeline is constantly shifting as this team discovers new opportunities on-site, they felt it was vital to keep people informed. Sincerity is at the heart of everything they do. They engaged us to work through video content that would keep their engaged fans and curious public informed and intrigued. The following videos uncover a new side to the experience.

Although Castle & Key is built on historic ground, it is in effect a startup. Balancing those two qualities while building on an existing visual identity has been a rewarding challenge. We helped the Castle & Key tap into the story that drives them and showcase it for an enthusiastic, expectant public.

Visit the Castle & Key website at