In one year, Headframe Spirits builds a new distillery & distills 1,000 barrels of Single Malt Whiskey

Posted on by Mackenzie Quinn

Headframe Spirits is proud to announce that today they filled their 1,000th barrel of American Single Malt Whiskey in just a single year of production, utilizing the new distillery expansion at the Kelley Distillery in Butte, MT. The Kelley Distillery represents an incredible addition to value-added agricultural manufacturing in Montana.  Those 1,000 barrels represent six new jobs and $1.8M dollars of CAPEX investment into the adaptive reuse of the Kelley Mine Site in uptown Butte, America as the largest American Single Malt Whiskey distillery west of the Mississippi.


“To us, the significance isn’t just the 1,000th barrel,” said co-owner of Headframe Spirits and Manufacturing, John McKee. “The significance is that we started construction of the distillery in April of last year. So, in exactly one year we went from bare floors and ground, to a fully functioning distillery, to 1,000 barrels of finished whiskey. There has never been a distillery of this size built, commissioned and brought to this level of production output in a single year, not one.  It’s a huge representation of what Butte, America has always been capable of doing.”


In a single year, we went from groundbreaking and equipment manufacture in a previously empty space, to sealing the 1,000th barrel. In this single year, Headframe utilized its in-house manufacturing team to construct nearly every aspect of the distillery – from piping manifolds and equipment sets, to the actual Still itself, our mammoth CF-5000LP system. In this single year, we used local trades from Lockmer Plumbing, RNR Electric, Bently Construction, and Custom Construction to plumb, wire, lift and build out what we couldn’t. In this single year, we leaned on the support of SMA Architects & Restor Design + Build to make sure that Butte Silver Bow’s excellent Planning Department would approve and allow our expansion to proceed.  


This 1,000th barrel represents over 12 years of experience, innovation and grit of digging deep into our commitment to opening our first distillery on Montana Street in Butte, America back in 2012. The last decade of making Headframe’s core products, such as the Orphan Girl Bourbon Cream Liqueur and Neversweat Bourbon Whiskey, gave us the confidence to move forward with the Kelley Distillery expansion. None of this new accomplishment of distilling 1,000 barrels in a single year would have been possible without the support of our customers, our community and our place in the world.


In the next coming 12 months, Headframe will increase the output of The Kelley Distillery to over 4,000 barrels per year of Montana Made American Single Malt Whiskey, exclusively using malted barley from Montana Craft Malt, made right here in Silver Bow County.


Montana grown grain, Montana Malted Barley, Montana engineering and fabrication and Montana can-do spirit all came together to make this accomplishment a reality.  Cheers to all who participated and we look forward to sharing a dram from the 1000th barrel with you… 7 years.


Team Headframe

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When you're in Butte swing by the Distillery and discount pharmacy introduce yourself. We love getting to know the folks who share our passion. Cheers, John & Courtney.

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