Last week Governor Steve Beshear announced that Maker’s Mark will undergo a $70 Million expansion of its distillery, adding a third identical still and increasing production by 50%. This still will be situated in the vicinity of the other two in order to keep the 60 year-old historical methods of production consistent. As a result of this expansion the workforce will grow by 30 employees and output will rise 50%. The first batch is expected to be barreled in 18 months and available for bottling six years after that, according to this article by The Spirits Business.
According to Maker’s Mark’s COO, Rob Samuels, “This expansion will ensure that every step in the meticulous, purposefully inefficient handcrafted bourbon making process remains exactly the same as it has for the past 60 years. . . Anyone can build a distillery, but we are choosing to replicate every aspect of the original to preserve the integrity of our handmade bourbon and the National Historic Landmark structure.” (source)
If this isn’t enough proof of the recent boom in bourbon sales, Buffalo Trace is also looking to expand. They are seeking tax incentives from the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority to construct a new distribution center and rehab existing structures on the premises. (source) A few weeks ago they sought tax credits related to tourism for a project that would add meeting space at the distillery as well as enlarge the tasting area and gift shop. (source)
Add this to the recent news that Stitzel-Weller will soon start building a $2 Million Visitor’s Center, and it’s looking like the bourbon business is pretty promising. I’ve read plenty of rumors and misstated reporting that Stitzel-Weller will soon be distilling again. With all these expansions taking place all over bourbon country, that would be the logical next step. Fingers crossed, bourbon lovers!
Photos Courtesy of Maker's Mark and Buffalo Trace Facebook Pages