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Shortbarrel acquires Old Fourth Distillery

Georgia-based whiskey brand Shortbarrel has purchased the Old Fourth Distillery – the oldest continuously operating distillery in Atlanta – for an undisclosed sum.

Shortbarrel was founded by (L-R) Clinton Dugan, Adam Dorfman and Patrick Lemmond

The deal includes the rights to the Old Fourth brand, its existing inventory, and 1,000 barrels of fine aged whiskey.

The original Old Fourth Distillery was shuttered by its previous owners in December 2022, when the lease for the space was not renewed.

Operations will now be relocated from the Old Fourth neighbourhood to Norcross, Georgia, in April of this year.

“We were determined to keep the Old Fourth brand alive as an Atlanta original,” commented Shortbarrel co-founder Clinton Dugan, “so I am pleased we were able to quickly secure a new facility to serve as the flagship for both Shortbarrel and Old Fourth.

“Old Fourth, its products and the people involved are too important to the city and community not to continue the brand. Our goal is to honour what Old Fourth has built and work with the team to make the products even better and more widely available.”

The new facility will include distilling, ageing, blending, single barrel selections, packaging and back-office operations, as well as a small tasting room for consumers that will open this summer for both Shortbarrel and Old Fourth.

When it first opened in 2014, the Old Fourth Distillery was Atlanta’s first new legal distillery since 1906.

Old Fourth’s current product line-up includes vodka; a Southern Dry gin; Lawn Dart, a unique ginger lemon liqueur; and a Bottled in Bond 50% ABV Bourbon that is aged and blended in Atlanta.

The portfolio will continue to be made by Shortbarrel under the Old Fourth Distillery brand name.

Old Fourth averaged annual sales of nearly 4,000 9-litre cases per year in Georgia and online, with a 22% growth rate in 2022, much of which was dominated by its Bourbon product.

Shortbarrel has retained Old Fourth Distillery employees Kim Bates and Amanda Willis, who will continue to lead sales for both brands for on- and off-premise locations.

“I am so excited to join the Shortbarrel team and keep the Old Fourth brand going here in Georgia and beyond,” said Bates. “Rest assured we will have a very steady supply of products available and are looking forward to new partnerships. I am thrilled I get to add my personal touch to all our products going forward.”

Shortbarrel currently sources its whiskey barrels from distilleries outside of Georgia, such as Bardstown Bourbon Company and Green River Distilling.

Shortbarrel will soon begin contract distilling Bourbon and rye in Atlanta at the Distillery of Modern Art in Chamblee, making the Old Fourth branded whiskeys 100% Atlanta-crafted.

The company has secured large distillery contracts outside of Atlanta for its namesake brand with contract distilling beginning this year in Garrard County, Kentucky.

Shortbarrel whiskeys are distributed in Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, and Connecticut, with Texas, South Carolina, Alabama, Kentucky and Rhode Island planned for 2023.

Shortbarrel can also be found online at Seelbach’s and

Old Fourth is distributed in Georgia and can also be found online at Seelbach’s and soon on

Our world spirits report into the American whiskey category was published at the end of 2022.

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