A $12.11 million sale of the former Bently craft distillery was officially consummated on Tuesday.
Documents regarding the sale were recorded on Tuesday even as news broke of the sale. There may be additional aspects to the deal that were not part of the public recording.
Foley Family Wines conducting business as High Sierra Distillery of Las Vegas purchased eight parcels, mostly around the main distillery in Minden and Orbit Way off Buckeye Road.
The property was purchased by Las Vegas Golden Knights pro hocky team owner Bill Foley.
Sierra Chef owner Cynthia Ferris-Bennett catered a welcome party for the new owners the day after the news was announced.
The Minden mill was built in 1906-07 when the Virginia & Truckee Railway arrived in the brand new railroad town founded by H.F. Dangberg Jr.
The mill has been a centerpiece for Minden since it was constructed in 1907, with the large silos added in 1908, according to The Record-Courier. In his book about Minden, resident Wynne Maule pointed out that the first manager of the mill also built the second house in the new town.
Minden industrialist Don Bently purchased the property in 1975, according to Maule’s book.
Not long after purchasing the mill, the idea of converting it into a venue was floated by Genoa restauranteurs Don and Marian Keagy. The Keagy’s were able to have it placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Those plans, which were detailed in a Nov. 23, 1978, story by R-C writer Joyce Hollister, included removing the interior walls of the four silos.
Bently ended up taking the mill back and for nearly the next four decades it sat idle. The elder Bently died Oct. 1, 2012, and Christopher Bently took over the property. In 2013, the first proposals to convert the mill into a distillery were revealed and a half-dozen years later, it opened in February 2019.
The Heritage Distillery has been closed since March 2022. It and around two-thirds of property owned by Christopher and Camille Bently went on the market in May 2022.
Estimates are that Bently spent around $100 million to renovate the mill.
The owner of the Las Vegas Golden Knights and a California winery purchased the Bently Distillery in Minden, it was announced on Tuesday morning.
“Foley Family Wines, the Sonoma Valley-based family-owned wine company, is expanding into the spirits business with the operation of a distillery,” according to a release.
The purchase includes an American Whiskey and white spirits distillery, housed in a 100-year-old creamery, and an American Single Malt Whiskey distillery housed in a 100-year-old flour mill. Both buildings sit on the National Register of Historic Places. The flour mill includes multiple tasting areas and will serve as a guest experience center.
Also included in the transaction is the existing inventory of bourbon, single malt whiskey and rye.
"The Bently family, former owners of the distillery, restored these historic Minden sites to LEED Certification," said Courtney Foley, Second Generation Vintner. "Their legacy is in perfect alignment with our family's commitment to community and sustainability across our vineyards and winery properties."
The winery will produce spirits at the facility from locally sourced grains; the spirits will be available through national wholesale markets and direct to consumer channels, including the Minden tasting room. It will begin operating the Minden facility immediately and will manage the sales and marketing efforts.
"Foley Family Wines has been expanding our luxury portfolio of wines since 1996, and we are eager to launch a full range of high-end spirits," said President Shawn Schiffer. "As the demand for spirits continues to grow and the consumer profile evolves, this is a strategic step for us. We look forward to integrating spirits brands into our national distribution network and to continuing the important vision of the Bently family."
Founder Bill Foley, the founder of Foley Family Wines, holds a growing portfolio of hospitality and entertainment businesses in California, Oregon, Washington, Montana, and Nevada. Foley's holdings in Nevada include the Vegas Golden Knights NHL franchise, the Henderson Silver Knights American Hockey League team, the Vegas Knight Hawks indoor football team, City National Arena, Lifeguard Arena, The Dollar Loan Center, and the Vegas Golden Knights Foundation.
"I'm very proud of what we've accomplished in Nevada," Foley said, "and I'm looking forward to introducing our spirits to the marketplace."