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Diageo opens Bulleit Distilling Co in Kentucky

Diageo has officially opened its US$115 million Bourbon distillery in Shelby County, Kentucky, which will produce the group’s Bulleit Bourbon and “future” whiskey brands.

Diageo’s Bulleit Distilling Co in Shelby County, Kentucky

The UK-based drinks group first revealed plans to build distillery, called Bulleit Distilling Co, in 2014 and “recently” kicked off production. The distillery employs around 30 people and has capacity to produce 1.8m proof gallons annually, however expansion opportunities are already “being explored”.

“We’re so proud to open the Bulleit Distilling Co here in Shelbyville,” said Tom Bulleit, who founded Bulleit Bourbon in 1987 by reviving his family’s “centuries-old” Bourbon recipe.

“Seeing this distillery come to life has been a truly surreal experience that couldn’t have been achieved without the tireless work of so many men and women. We can’t wait to share the delicious whiskey that will be produced here for centuries to come.”

When plans for the distillery were first announced, a Diageo spokesperson told The Spirits Business that the site would produce “current and future” American whiskey brands in the group’s stable.

Bulleit Distilling Co is based on a 300-acre area of land that includes four barrel warehouses, each with capacity to hold 55,000 barrels.

Tom Bulleit, founder of Bulleit Bourbon

The distillery itself contains a 52-foot still made by Vendome Copper and Brass Works, and the “first industrial solar array” in Shelby County, which will collect enough energy to power all on-site mobile equipment.

“Today marks a huge achievement for Tom Bulleit and everyone at Diageo, as we open an amazing facility that will further establish the legacy of Bulleit here in Kentucky,” said Deirdre Mahlan, president of Diageo North America. “We look forward to continuing to watch the brand grow as we become part of the Shelbyville community.”

Bulleit Distilling Co was officially opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday (14 March), attended by Kentucky governor Matt Bevin and other dignitaries.

“It is an honour to join Bulleit Distilling Co today to celebrate the opening of its new distillery in Shelbyville,” said governor Bevin. “Bourbon, in addition to its status as a signature Kentucky product, is an important driver of state’s economy and workforce.

“Bulleit, which celebrates its 30th anniversary in conjunction with today’s ribbon cutting, continues to add international acclaim to Kentucky’s proud spirit-making tradition. I congratulate the company on these achievements and expect they’ll see continued strong growth in the coming years.”

The distillery is not open to the public, but Diageo opened the Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Experience tourist attraction at its Stitzel-Weller distillery in 2014 to showcase the Bulleit brand.

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