Buffalo Trace pledges $1.2bn to increase production
Sazerac will invest US$1.2 billion in Buffalo Trace Distillery over the next 10 years, but “suspects it will not be enough to meet demand”.
Buffalo Trace Distillery will have more barrels “coming of age over the next 12 months”, with more bottles available in 2018.
In addition, there will be more bottles produced for Eagle Rare, WL Weller, EH Taylor Jr, and Blanton’s Single Barrel in 2018.
The distillery will also bottle Van Winkle, George T. Stagg, Elmer T. Lee and Sazerac Rye as barrels mature, but “there will be little growth on these brands”.
As it stands, two new barrel warehouses have been completed, with a third and fourth warehouse planned. Sazerac intends to build one new warehouse every four months for several years.
Once complete, each warehouse will hold 58,800 barrels of whiskey. Each warehouse will cost US$7.5 million to build and US$21m to fill with barrels. Each warehouse has been insulated to protect it from cold winters – thought to be a first for the industry.
Buffalo Trace is also replacing its boilers and prepping its site for a new cooling tower next summer. Four new cookers, twice the size of the existing cookers, will also be added in summer 2019, as well as four new 92,000-gallon fermenting tanks will be added.
A new US$50m bottling hall will also be built to replace the existing bottling operation and “improve efficiency, flexibility and overall quality”.The move is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.
“When I started with the company in 1995, we filled 12,000 barrels a year. Today the growth seems moderate, but when you think about how far we’ve come, it’s actually phenomenal, considering when we’re on track to produce 200,000 barrels this year,” said Harlen Wheatley, master distiller.
The company anticipates the “majority of its whiskeys will still be on allocation, and will continue Bourbon allocations across the US to ensure each state receives some”.
“Although Buffalo Trace is moving forward aggressively with expansion plans, allocations will continue, with no foreseeable end in sight,” the company said in a statement.