RADCLIFF, Ky. (AP) — The newest product from Boundary Oak Distillery is connected with the legendary life of a World War II combat hero. But it also is rooted in Hardin County tourism and a life-long friendship that began in elementary school.
Bottles of the barrel-aged liquor will carry the likeness of Gen. George S. Patton, who was known for his rapid deployment of armor troops when he commanded the U.S. Seventh Army and later the Third Army during the war.
Known as Patton Armored Diesel, the product borrows its name from a mobile bar that accompanied the general's forces as they crossed France and Germany after D-Day.
Brent Goodin, owner and master distiller of Boundary Oak, said the product is in distribution.
"Everybody who has seen this has been equally as excited as we are about it," Goodin said.
While the cane spirit will create another revenue stream for the young craft distillery, it also benefits the General George Patton Museum and Center of Leadership at Fort Knox. Boundary Oak will pay licensing rights to a trust that helps finance the museum foundation.
Goodin, who is developing his Radcliff distillery off Kentucky 313 as a tourist destination, will offer the product in its gift shop. He expects to stimulate conversations with guests that will cause them to add the Patton Museum to their visit and stay longer in Hardin County.
Mark Hinton, who is chairman of the museum foundation, is a childhood friend of Goodin and has served as brand manager for the product. His work included securing necessary legal approval from the Army and alcohol regulators as well as the blessing of the Patton family.
"From my perspective, I get to use a totally different medium to create a conversation about Patton," Hinton said. "Because everybody knows the name Patton, but they don't know what he did. If this causes one person to look up what George Patton did, that's pretty neat."
The general's grandson, George Patton "Pat" Waters, endorses the concept and sees it as an honor for his grandfather "and a real tribute to all those soldiers who served over there with Gen. Patton."
A South Carolina resident and fellow member of the museum foundation, Waters plans to be part of promoting the product, although his schedule did not allow him to be in Kentucky for its introduction.
"They've produced a product that will live forever, I think," Waters said.
In addition to the Patton family, approvals were sought and received from the Alcohol Beverage Control Board and the Army's Judge Advocate General Corps. The bottle carries a disclaimer stating the product is not affiliated or associated with, authorized or endorsed by the U.S. Armed Forces.
Individual bottles being distributed across Kentucky and to military posts through Army Air Force Exchange Stores will carry a distributor's suggested retail price of $46.
Boundary Oak also is distributing a limited edition collector's item with bottles displayed in an olive green case designed to look like Patton's Army footlocker, including stenciled lettering on top. The 5,000-run limited edition product has a suggested retail price of $265.
Inside the case, a bottle with a unique label appears along with a quote from the general, a replica of his signature and four stars, depicting his rank. A reproduction of signage from the general's bar and a map showing troop movements also appears inside.
With the international interest in Kentucky's bourbon industry, Goodin said many collectors want a distinctive product and a story to share with fellow collectors. Although Armored Diesel is not a bourbon, the special packaging will appeal to the same buyers.
Goodin said the story of this 80-proof product also is unique because Hinton and Waters, who were deeply involved with its development, are non-drinkers.
"We're not trying to glorify alcohol; we're just trying to glorify him," Goodin said. "This generation, they enjoy craft American spirits, and we want to give them a history lesson along with a good drink."
Information from: The News-Enterprise, http://www.thenewsenterprise.com
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