Brown-Forman to build $30m Old Forester Bourbon distillery

26th September, 2014 by Becky Paskin

Brown-Forman is investing US$30 million to open a distillery and “Bourbon experience” in Louisville, Kentucky to double production of its Old Forester brand.


Old Forester Bourbon is to get its own distillery

The drinks group expects to open the new Old Forester Distillery, which will feature fermentation tanks, stills, a bottling hall and a cooperage, by autumn 2016.

The site will also feature a visitors’ centre, offering tours, a tasting room, Bourbon-production demonstrations and exhibitions.

Paul Varga, CEO of Brown-Forman, said the new distillery would allow the group to “showcase further one of the greatest tasting and most historic Bourbons”, at a time when global demand for American whiskey is high.

“George Garvin Brown introduced Old Forester, America’s first bottled Bourbon, more than 140 years ago, which changed our industry and the Louisville community forever,” he said.

“We believe this will enrich Kentucky, the home of Bourbon, and Louisville, the historic home of Brown-Forman and the Brown family.”

As well as Old Forester, which is the only Bourbon brand to be produced and bottled before, during and after Prohibition, Brown-Forman also produces Woodford Reserve and Early Times Bourbons, although its flagship American whiskey is Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey.

The Bourbon is currently produced at the Brown-Forman Distillery in Shively, Kentucky, under the supervision of master distiller Chris Morris.

The Old Forester Distillery will be located at 117-119 West Main Street, on Whiskey Row, at former whisky maturation warehouses built around 1857.

Brown-Forman previously occupied 117 West Main Street between 1900-1919.

The acquisition of the two buildings will bring Brown-Forman’s current presence on Louisville’s Main Street to five in total.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said: “Bourbonism is real and just keeps growing in our city and our state. Not only is Brown-Forman growing one of its strongest brands, it also is redeveloping two key structures in a historic block of our downtown, which will encourage more investment, more stability and more growth.”

The group will receive up to US$1.3m in Kentucky tax incentives through the build f the distillery – US$900,000 through the Kentucky Business Investment programme, and US$400,000 through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act.

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