Diageo Expands in Kentucky

Sep 19, 2014by The Staff

The company opened the Bulleit Fronteir Whiskey Experience at Stitzel-Weller, which also became a new stop on the Kentuckyk Bourbon Trail Tour. From the press release:


LOUISVILLE, Ky., September 15, 2014At a ribbon-cutting ceremony this morning to celebrate the opening of the Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Experience at Stitzel-Weller, Diageo shared plans for additional renovations to the historic Louisville distillery, and the Kentucky Distillers’ Association announced that Stitzel-Weller will be the newest stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® tour.

This next phase of refurbishing the facility will include construction of a new bottling line, an on-site finishing center and a small batch craft still for the Visitor Center focused on innovation.  This brings Diageo’s total investments in Stitzel-Weller announced in 2014 to more than ten million dollars.

“Stitzel-Weller is widely recognized as an iconic part of bourbon’s past, and the Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Experience we are opening today celebrates that history,” said Larry Schwartz, President, Diageo North America. “Now, with these new investments and our innovation plans, Stitzel-Weller and Diageo will help shape the future of American Whiskey in Louisville, and in the state of Kentucky.”

The Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Experience will be officially open to the public beginning tomorrow.  Visitors will be able to see firsthand Bulleit founder Tom Bulleit’s working office and take a trip into the past of one of America’s most historic facilities.  Guests will tour the warehouse where the rickhousing system was invented in 1879, the cooperage which remains unchanged since opening in 1935, and the historic foyer, inspired by Monticello.  Beginning in early December, the tour will also include a look at a new finishing center, where visitors will be able to add customized engravings, etchings and hand-selected graphics to products available for purchase at the site.

“Bourbon remains a marquee industry in Kentucky, one clearly enjoyed all around the globe,” said Governor Steve Beshear.  “The opening of the Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Experience will only enhance the world’s love of our native spirit and bring more Bourbon enthusiasts to the Commonwealth. I want to thank Diageo for its continued investment in our state and celebrate the newest stop on our famed Kentucky Bourbon Trail® tour.”

“Stitzel-Weller is sacred ground in our city, the home of iconic bourbon brands and now the home of the Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Experience,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. “The beautiful setting and the historic preservation of the property will make the distillery a must-see stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® journey.”

While Stitzel-Weller will remain home to the Bulleit Bourbon brand, the new small batch craft still for the Visitor Center will also nurture inspired experimentation and education.  Fueled by innovation, it will embody the entrepreneurial spirit that has long lived within the walls of the historic site.  The facility will include an industry archive and serve as a resource for members of the trade, whiskey industry and other interested parties who are of legal drinking age.

“As a Kentuckian and a son of the Bourbon industry, watching this national treasure come back to life has been an incredible experience,” said Bulleit Bourbon founder, Tom Bulleit. “Having Stitzel-Weller be the home of the Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Experience and a stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® gives me a tremendous amount of pride and a feeling of excitement for what the future holds.”

In addition to distilling, the company will bring bottling capabilities back to Stitzel-Weller.  A new bottling line is currently under construction and slated to start up in late 2014.  Plans call for the new line to bottle a range of American whiskeys and bourbons.

“Stitzel-Weller is hallowed ground for Bourbon aficionados and one of the true cathedrals of American whiskey,” said Eric Gregory, President of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association.  “It has been home to many of the industry’s iconic brands, innovators and true characters.  We’re honored that Diageo and the Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Experience is the newest member of our Kentucky Bourbon Trail® family, and we applaud their investment that will attract thousands of visitors and pour much-needed revenue into the local community and our great Commonwealth.”

During the announcement, Gregory presented Schwartz with a copper plaque to commemorate their Kentucky Bourbon Trail® membership. Schwartz and Mayor Fischer also stamped the first Kentucky Bourbon Trail® Passports featuring the new attraction.

“We’re glad to be able to contribute to Kentucky’s hospitality and tourism industries, especially now that the KDA have added the Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Experience to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® tour,” added Schwartz.

This latest investment comes on the heels of Diageo’s ground breaking last month at the new Shelby County, Kentucky Bulleit Distilling Co. facility.  The 1.8 million proof gallon (750,000 9-liter cases) distillery will distill Bulleit Bourbon, as well as a number of current and future Diageo bourbon and North American Whiskey brands.  Construction plans are on track and Diageo aims to have the distillery operational in late 2016.

The Stitzel-Weller Distillery in Shively opened on Derby Day in 1935.  For four decades, it thrived and was known for making the finest bourbons in the world.  On June 30th, 1972, the company was sold.  After a series of name and ownership changes, Stitzel-Weller is now owned by Diageo.  The Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Experience at Stitzel-Weller will be open to the public Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. -3 p.m., with the last tour beginning at 2 p.m.  Admission, which includes a tasting, costs $10 for adults of legal drinking age.

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