New $38m distillery to age Bourbon in coal mine
Brothers Wright Distilling Co will invest nearly US$38 million in building a new Kentucky distillery that will mature Bourbon in a century-old coal mine.
Brothers Wright Distilling Co plans to construct a 12,000-square-foot distillery, rickhouse, welcome centre, museum and restaurant on a 20-acre area – part of a larger 1,200-acre property, along Kentucky Highway 292 in Pike County.
In 2020, brothers Kendall and Shannon Wright purchased a 1,200-acre farm along the banks of the Tug Fork tributary of the Big Sandy River and began work to turn it into a corporate retreat.
Following the acquisition, the brothers discovered coal mine maps of the property, which uncovered the location of the underground mine that is now being used to age the company’s Bourbon.
The rehabilitated coal mine, encompassing 1,400 acres underground, was in operation for 33 years until 1946.
“From 1913 to 1946, more than 23 million tons of coal were mined out of this property,” said Kendall Wright, co-owner and chief operating officer of Brothers Wright Distilling Co.
“Miners from all over the world travelled here to work, live and provide fuel to our nation during its greatest period of growth. We feel there is something special about honouring the work completed here over a century ago with a completely unique Bourbon experience.”
The site is already home to the first barrels of the company’s product, which was distilled in Pike County.
Future plans for the site include accommodation and an underground visitor experience.
The US$37.9m project is expected to create 28 full-time positions over 15 years in areas such as production, maintenance, sales and tours. Additionally, 50 construction and mine rehabilitation jobs are projected.
Construction of the new facility is expected to begin later this year and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2024.
The distillery’s owners operate several businesses in Kentucky and the Appalachia region, including parent firm Wright Concrete & Construction.
“Our family of companies’ footprint in Pike County stretches back over 25 years. We have been blessed to live and work in the mountains of central Appalachia over that time frame,” added Shannon Wright, co-owner and CEO of Brothers Wright Distilling Co.
Earlier this month, Western Kentucky Distilling Co opened a US$30 million ‘state-of-the-art’ whiskey distillery in the US state.