One of the OG’s of the bourbon world just moved back to Louisville, Kentucky’s famed Whiskey Row. Today, Old Forester Distilling Co. opened the doors on their new, 45 million, 70,000 square foot distillery 119 W. Main Street.
“Over the last 148 years, Old Forester has had its share of memorable moments and enduring accomplishments. Today marks yet another chapter to a story that has survived Prohibition, world wars and the changing palates and tastes of consumers across the globe,” said Campbell Brown, Old Forester President. “We are delighted to now welcome friends old and new into our new, old Home.”
The Main Street location is only sorta new to Old Forester. In 1870, pharma sales rep, George Garvin Brown produced the first bottled bourbon in history. His company, now known as Brown-Forman, opened their first headquarters at the 119 Main Street location in 1882. However, in 1919, right before prohibition, the company moved out of the downtown location.
“There’s a tremendous amount of pride – as a member of the Brown Family and a Louisvillian – in the fact that we’re able to return to this building and bring added life to a block that was once destined for the wrecking ball. It’s a true homecoming for this hometown Bourbon, which is entirely produced in the confines of Louisville,” said Brown.
The new facility is far removed from anything that the patriarch Brown could ever imagine. Visitors enter an atrium where they are greeted by a 44-foot-tall Vendome copper column still flanked by four 4,500 gallon tanks. The distiller reports that the facility will increase their annual output by 100,000 proof gallons.
The building also contains an operating cooperage as well as a small rickhouse holding about 900 barrels. Of course, there will be a tour to show this all off to the public. (Fun Fact: The rick house will be heated to accommodate said tour which is expected to result in far more evaporation during aging. Reports estimate that about four barrels a year total will be lost to angel’s share.)
Distillery tours run seven days a week, with production Tuesday through Saturday 10 am to 6 pm. The cost of ticket (tasting included—of course!) is $16.