Lisa Wicker Named Master Distiller of New Garrard County Distilling

Lisa Wicker, new Master Distiller of Garrard County Distilling.
Lisa Wicker, new Master Distiller of Garrard County Distilling.

Atlanta-based spirits company Staghorn has named award-winning craft whiskey maker Lisa Wicker as the first Master Distiller of its recently opened Garrard County Distilling in Lancaster, KY. The former Widow Jane Distillery leader will oversee whiskey making at the largest all-new independent distillery in the commonwealth, the company states. The distillery began operations in January.

Wicker brings more than 20 years of distilling and winemaking experience to Garrard County Distilling. In her new role as Master Distiller, she will manage all aspects of whiskey production, including grain selection, fermentation, distillation, blending and aging for the company’s owned whiskey brands, including All Nations, as well as contract-distilled whiskey, according to the company.

Wicker’s other experience in the spirits industry includes lead distilling roles at Lexington Brewing & Distilling Company, Samson & Surrey, Limestone Branch and Starlight Distillery. For years, she served as a consulting distiller at George Washington’s Distillery, the company states.

Lisa Takes the Reins of the New Facility

“I am so grateful to the team at Staghorn for this amazing opportunity to lead the whiskey making team at this beautiful new facility,” said Wicker in a news release. “Though this is one of the largest distilleries in Kentucky, my focus will remain on creating whiskeys using the hands-on, traditional craft disciplines I have honed over the past several decades.”

“When we were looking for a head distiller at Garrard County Distilling Co., we wanted someone with deep experience in time-honored distilling methods but also someone with an eye for what’s next. This made Lisa our obvious first choice,” said Ray Franklin, Founder of Staghorn, in the release.

Until the whiskey currently in production matures, Wicker will focus her attention on Staghorn’s All Nations brand, selecting and blending whiskey from the company’s inventory. Garrard County Distilling plans to announce several new brands in 2024, according to the company.


“High-rye and wheated bourbons are going to be the calling card for Garrard County Distilling Co., but I am also excited to explore rye whiskey, American single malt and some other emerging categories,” continued Wicker. “Key for me will be to have a premium whiskey for everyone, so expect a broad portfolio across multiple price points, from your daily sipper to the bottle you pull out for special occasions.”

Located 30 minutes south of Lexington, the 210-acre Garrard County Distilling site includes the 50,000+ sq ft distillery, as well as two 20,000 sq ft rickhouses, with plans for a total of 24 aging warehouses by 2030, each holding nearly 25,000 barrels. A visitor center with tasting room and restaurant is scheduled to open by the end of this year, the company states.


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