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Louisville’s Main Street was once as soon as house to 89 bourbon firms. The one left status these days is Brown-Forman, and with the debut of its downtown Old Forester Distillery, whiskey is again on Whiskey Row in earnest.

“Whiskey Row was the heart of bourbon making,” says Campbell Brown, Old Forester president and fifth-generation Brown circle of relatives member in the bourbon industry. By returning to the unique development that the corporate occupied a century in the past and inviting guests with an immersive distillery excursion and enjoy, Brown hopes to make that ancient connection transparent. “We feel that we can tell a true origin story, the company and the family story. It’s a really unique way for us to share some of the connections we have to Louisville.”

The new $45 million, 70,000-square-foot distillery occupies 117 and 119 Main Street, the place the corporate was once at the beginning headquartered for a duration finishing in 1922. Construction of the distillery took 3 years, and was once interrupted via a three-alarm hearth, which threatened to carry down the adjoining constructions. The mission prevailed, despite the fact that. Consider it most effective the most recent setback for a corporation that has withstood Prohibition, recessions and depressions, and downturns in the bourbon industry to be the only often operational bourbon manufacturer of the ones 89 that after shared the group.

Another ancient notice of significance for Old Forester is that in 1870 it changed into the primary bourbon offered in sealed glass bottles for high quality. Nearly 150 years later, the brand new standalone distillery is the primary to collect and char barrels in the similar development the place distillation is happening. From fermentation and cooperage throughout to maturation and bottling, all the scope of whiskey manufacturing is on show.

The distillery’s showpiece is the 44-foot copper column nonetheless at its heart, able to generating 100,000 gallons in line with 12 months. It’s now not sufficient to satiate all of Old Forester’s manufacturing wishes despite the fact that, and can subsequently focal point on small-batch merchandise, non-public barrels and experimental releases.

“The real jewel is the flexibility this gives,” Brown says. “And how we’re going to be using this from an innovation standpoint.”

Exploring the brand new Old Forester Distillery gives distinctive perception into the previous, with one thing completely contemporary and new on the identical time. 

The Old Forester Distillery opens to the general public on June 15. Tours, to be had day-to-day, can also be booked on-line at oldforester.com/distillery. View the picture gallery above for a sneak peek at downtown’s new distillery enjoy, and spot extra Kentucky bourbon locations beneath.

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