Old Dominick Distillery in Memphis, TN

Taste the Tradition

Share a sip of pure Memphis at Old Dominick Distillery

From the first sip, you can taste the tradition embedded in every Old Dominick bottle. A state-of-the-art distillery built on a turn-of-the-century legacy perfectly blends the science and art required to craft exceptional spirits. 

Aged Whiskey to Perfection

You can’t rush good whiskey – or the history behind it. 

Although Old Dominick Distillery opened its doors to the public in 2017, the story begins more than 150 years earlier when 16-year-old Domenico Canale set sail from Italy on a voyage to Memphis.  

Starting out as a fruit vendor, Canale established food wholesaler D. Canale & Co. less than a decade after arriving in Tennessee. Among his early offerings was a whiskey he named Old Dominick followed by development of the Dominick Toddy – a bourbon-based cordial with fruity overtones.

Domenico died just three days prior to Prohibition. With spirits off the table, the family’s focus turned to building up the food distribution company. By the time the 18th Amendment was repealed, D. Canale & Co. had the largest refrigerated warehouses in Memphis, catching the attention of Anheuser-Busch. Just like that, the family was back in the beverage business. 

Chris Canale, Jr., part of the fifth generation and co-owner of Old Dominick Distillery, grew up on the beer side of the family business. “When we sold it in 2010, we were looking at another way to be a tangible part of the community because that was what we had always been,” he explains.

During a meeting in the conference room filled with family mementos, an investment banker spied an old bottle of Dominick Toddy and became intrigued, putting together a proposal to buy the brand and relaunch the original beverage line.

“We thought about it, and then we thought: ‘Why don’t we do it?’” recalls Canale. “We have 150 years of distribution experience. We know every bartender in town. Why wouldn’t we just do this ourselves?” 

And so, they did.

Finding the Right Blend

“Building the team was the first step,” says Canale. “We’re a people first business. If you get the right people in place, it will be a success.”

A pivotal part of that success was finding someone with the knowledge, experience and passion to craft distinctive distilled spirits. The answer came from neighboring Kentucky.

“I was in high school and fell in love with chemistry, physics and calculus. I asked my mom what I could do with those three interests,” says Alex Castle. Her mother told her she could become a chemical engineer or use those skills to become a brewmaster. 

Growing up in bourbon country, the decision was an easy one. During college at the University of Kentucky, she worked with a brand launching a distillery as part of a co-op program. After graduation, Castle served as a production supervisor for a national bourbon company. 

“I was fortunate enough to be on the expert sensory panel and got to be part of product tasting and development,” she notes.

Her combination of skills and experience made her a natural fit to join Old Dominick in 2015 as head distiller - making her the first female to hone the title in the state of Tennessee. And in January 2019, Castle became master distiller.  

Worth the Wait

“We filled our first barrel on February 2, 2017. We finally started dumping barrels and blending and bottling in October 2022,” says Castle. “To finally hit that milestone was incredibly exciting.”

When the distillery opened to the public in May 2017, they launched with two vodkas and the Old Dominick Toddy. Since then, they have rolled out a gin, two Tennessee whiskeys, a small-batch bourbon series and the Trolley Stop Series with a straight bourbon whiskey and a wheat whiskey that pay homage to iconic streets of pre-Prohibition Memphis.

“The feedback has been phenomenal,” Castle says of response to their first releases. And with more variations aging into maturity, she notes, “There are still a lot of new whiskey releases in our future.”

Tap into the Experience

The team’s excitement and passion for the process and product come through in onsite touring and tasting experiences

“On our tours, you get to see everything,” says Castle. “I don’t believe in hiding behind a curtain. We lay it all out there, and we like to show it off.”

She continues, “At the end of the tour, you get to sample products, and we talk about the history of whiskey, Tennessee whiskey, the family and the company. By the end of it, you feel like you are part of the team.”

Tour options include Making the Memphis Spirit, a one-hour guided tour with a curated tasting and the 90-minute Beyond the Barrel experience featuring an enhanced whiskey flight tasting. Additionally, special programming and experiences are featured throughout the year. 

Share a Sip of Pure Memphis

In addition to tours, Canale invites guests to enjoy Old Dominick’s full-service bar while visiting. Laughingly admitting his personal bias, he says, “I think you can put our bar program up against anyone else in the country.”

Partiality aside, he’s not wrong. In a city known for its hospitality and bar scene, Old Dominick has been nominated three years in a row for “Best Craft Cocktail Bar in Memphis.”

Whether your tastes run to a straight shot or a creatively blended cocktail, every visit to Old Dominick is a sip of pure Memphis. Go to OldDominick.com to plan your visit today.