Diageo invests $2m in iconic Bourbon distilleryBy Amy Hopkins
Diageo will spend US$2million on transforming the mothballed Stitzel-Weller distillery into a visitors’ centre that showcases its Bourbon brands.
The iconic distillery, which first opened in 1935 near Louisville but has not been operational since 1992, previously produced Old Fitzgerald and Rebel Yell Bourbons.
Its renovated site will include a whiskey education centre, a section which “pays homage to the people, land and water of Kentucky”, and an area dedicated to Diageo’s Bulleit Bourbon and its recently launched Orphan Barrel whiskeys – Barterhouse and Blowhard.
Work is set to begin immediately, with the first phase due to be complete in May while the main visitors’ centre, welcome centre and gift shop are anticipated to be finished this summer.
Stitzel-Weller, now owned by Diageo, is currently used as a warehouse to store barrels of various whiskeys.
Larry Schwartz, president of Diageo North America, said: “Stitzel-Weller is one of the most significant and historic parts of Kentucky’s bourbon heritage and we are honoured to be restoring it to share it with Louisville residents and visitors.
“We are pleased to be investing in the community and this important site. This is another step in our support of and leadership within the American craft whiskey movement.”
Schwartz added that Diageo hoped the renovated site would soon be included on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail – a tourism route dedicated to the Kentucky’s Bourbon industry.