Ground was broken today for Diageo’s new bourbon distillery in Shelby County, Kentucky. The international spirits brand, which produces over a hundred whiskeys and whiskies worldwide, has wisely decided to ramp up production of Kentucky bourbon amidst a worldwide boom in popularity. According to Governor Beshear, who was in attendance for the groundbreaking ceremony, proclaimed we’re, “celebrating [bourbon’s] growth and economic impact on our Commonwealth” with this new distillery.
The new distillery will be called The Bulleit Distilling Company, and will make the Bulleit brands as well as other possible future Diageo bourbon and whiskey brands. In his opening remarks, Diageo’s Guy Smith proclaimed, “we’re gonna make whiskey here!” He was tight lipped about the current source of Bulleit as well as the future of Stitzel Weller in an interview with Fred Minnick after the event. You can read more about that here.
The bottom line here is that bourbon is so hot right now distillers can’t keep up with demand. There are more barrels aging in rack houses than there have been since the 1970s, and production has been growing in recent years at a rate higher than that of the post-prohibition boom. This new $115 million facility will employ 30 people and add to the bottom lines of countless Kentucky farms. This is a good thing for our farmers, our economy, and bourbon tourism. Most importantly, though, there will be more bourbon to go around.
Once this distillery is finished, there is talk of building a visitor’s center just up the road from it. There was also talk of another small craft distillery that would be building in Shelby County, eventually making the county a player in the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. This is certainly a strategic move on the part of the distillers since there has been a gap between the Louisville and Frankfort distilleries for so many years.
Congratulations go to Tom Bulleit, whose vision of reviving his family’s historic bourbon brand is coming to fruition to the tune of $115 Million.
Photos Courtesy of Diageo and Maggie Kimberl