Fire delays opening of Old Forester Distillery

23rd July, 2015 by Amy Hopkins

A fire that raged across Whiskey Row in Kentucky earlier this month has caused Brown-Forman to delay the opening of its Old Forester Distillery by “several months”.


The opening of Brown-Forman’s Old Forester Distillery has been delayed by several months

While the proposed site for the distillery had been left relatively unscathed by the blaze, three adjacent buildings on Louisville’s historic Whiskey Row suffered “heavy damage”.

Brown-Forman said the fire spread in the opposite direction to the distillery, allowing it to continue with preliminary work.

The group has now broken ground on the site, but claims that its grand opening would be delayed until 2017 – a postponement of several months from the previously anticipated completion date of autumn 2016.

Plans for the Old Forester Distillery were first revealed in September 2014 and included fermentation tanks, stills, a bottling hall and a cooperage.

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

A construction “kick off” ceremony was held yesterday, attended by members of the Brown-Forman family, Borwn-Forman’s master distiller Chris Morris and CEO Paul Vagra, as well as Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Louisville Metro Council President David Tandy.

“A few years ago, the millennial generation began to focus on brands and categories that delivered not just taste and flavour, but authenticity,” said Campbell Brown, who was appointed president of Old Forester earlier this year.

“There is no more authentic bourbon than Old Forester and the brand has enjoyed nice growth over the last two years and is extremely well positioned to cement the brand’s credentials into consumers’ hearts and minds.”

Eight months after first announcing plans for the distillery, Brown-Forman said it had increased its initial investment by US$15m, from US$30 million to US$45m.

Brown-Forman has not stated whether it will increase its investment in the site further as a result of the fire.

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