Clyde May’s whiskey comes home with groundbreaking

Published 11:34 pm Monday, January 24, 2022

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Clyde May’s whiskey officially returned home on Monday.

The City of Troy and Conecuh Brands officially broke ground on the company’s distillery in Troy. Plans for the distillery were launched in 2017 with great fanfare. A similar ceremony was held with a range of people involved in the project – including newly appointed Gov. Kay Ivey. But, the project seemed at a standstill for some time.

“A lot of people want to know what took so long,” Roy Danis, CEO of Conecuh Brands told a large crowd at the ground breaking. “In 2017, we had secured the land rights, but we had to design our facility, do environmental studies and buy our equipment – which has a one-year lead time. We were planning for an early ground breaking. But, you all know what happened in 2020. It’s the worst pandemic in U.S. history and everything just shut down.”

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Danis said the pandemic delayed the construction of the distillery, but it didn’t delay the development of the brand.

“You can find the Clyde May brand in all 50 states and in 12 international locations. While not much happened with the distillery, we grew our brand. All of the people that helped us and were here in 2017 are here today and I’m thankful they stayed with us.”

L.C. May, the grandson of Clyde May, serves as the official ambassador for Conecuh Brands.

“We couldn’t have this here today if it wasn’t for Kenny May,” L.C. May said. “It was Kenny’s vision and it’s many twists and turns that led us here today. As ambassador for the brand, I’m often asked ‘What would Clyde May think if he were alive today?’ Well, the Clyde May brand wouldn’t exist because he’d still be making illegal whiskey about 22 miles from here.

“But, we’ve come a long way from that day. I think he’d want his name and legacy to affect the families of dozens of people that work here. Clyde May didn’t make whiskey to get rich. He made whiskey because he wanted to support this family. He also wanted to master his craft. I think he would want to leave a legacy of hard work and integrity.”

Conecuh Brands Chairman Jim Ammeen said the pandemic had been tough, but the sales team had done a great job of growing the brand and increasing revenue during the pandemic. He said that turned things around for Clyde May.

“Today, we can finally come full circle and bring Clyde May home,” Ammeen said. “This is a unique day. The Clyde May distillery is what America is all about. The American dream is about building something from nothing. Business is up 40 percent since 2020. That put me in a position to ask for a commitment to put the shovel in the ground. And, today, I can say Clyde May is on the rise.”

Ammeen said the distillery should open in 2023.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey closed out the remarks before the ground was broken on the distillery.

“It’s great to be at the groundbreaking here today,” Ivey said. “Clyde May has grown into an Alabama legend in the past 70 years for producing some of the state’s best whiskey. As governor, I’ve always been an advocate for small towns to be successful. Companies like Clyde May’s are the backbone of what makes Alabama successful.”