Diageo opens Stitzel-Weller visitors’ centreBy Amy Hopkins
Diageo has completed the transformation of its mothballed Stitzel-Weller distillery into a multi-million dollar vistors’ centre, but has revealed further renovations will take place.
The British drinks group announced in February this year it would be embarking on a project to renovate the distillery, turning it in to a vistors’ centre to showcase its Bourbon brands.
At a ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday, Diageo revealed the Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Experience, which will take visitors’ through the history and creation of the group’s Bulleit Bourbon.
Additional renovations were also announced, including the construction of a new bottling line, an on-site finishing center and a small batch craft still. With these new renovations, Diageo said it had invested more than US$10 million in Stitzel-Weller in 2014, a significant increase on its initial US$2 million plans.
“Stitzel-Weller is widely recognized as an iconic part of bourbon’s past, and the Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Experience we are opening today celebrates that history,” said Larry Schwartz, president of Diageo North America.
“Now, with these new investments and our innovation plans, Stitzel-Weller and Diageo will help shape the future of American Whiskey in Louisville, and in the state of Kentucky.”
Visitors to the centre have the chance to tour the warehouse where the rickhousing system was invented in 1879, the 1935 cooperage and the historic foyer. A finishing will open in December where guests add customized engravings to products purchased on-site.
In a release issued yesterday, Diageo suggested the planned new bottling line would allow it to release another range of American whiskies or Bourbons.
The Stitzel-Weller distillery, which first opened in 1935 near Louisville but has not been operational since 1992, previously produced Old Fitzgerald and Rebel Yell Bourbons.
The Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Experience has now been listed on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Tour – a tourism route dedicated to the Kentucky’s Bourbon industry.
In May this year, Diageo revealed plans to significantly increase its footprint in the Bourbon sector by building a US$115 distillery in Shelby County, Kentucky, for its “current and future” Bourbon brands.