Bardstown Bourbon Company - BBC to Open Satellite Tasting Room on Whiskey Row in Louisville

The Bardstown Bourbon Company is deeply engrained into the distiller’s fabric of Bardstown, Nelson County, Kentucky. Bardstown and Louisville, Kentucky are about 40 miles apart from one and other and have always had this friendly competition for drawing in bourbon tourists to their towns. Bardstown is known best known as ‘The Bourbon Capital of the World® while Louisville is known as the ‘Birthplace of Bourbonism®. They are so serious about their claims that both these terms are registered trademarks, meaning the brand name or logo is protected. If you mix them up the local tourism officials and politicians alike are quick to correct you. It’s all in good fun of course.

Location, Location, Location

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Bardstown Bourbon Company (BBC) has announced they are investing in a new satellite location at 730 W. Main Street on Louisville’s ‘Whiskey Row’. This historic building is known as the Hart Block Building. The building features a cast-iron façade made by The Merz Architectural Iron Works in 1884. This stretch of Main St. contains a significant concentration of nineteenth century, cast-iron commercial buildings, rivaled only by such cities as New York and Portland, Oregon.

Earlier this year the Kentucky Distillers’ Association worked with state legislators to pass House Bill 500 that bill allowed for three new key measures.

  1. Single Barrel Sales – Authorizes private barrel selections and allows consumers and non-profits to buy limited private selection barrels directly from distillery visitor centers. This practice has been in place for years. It was just last year that someone figured out that it went outside the boundaries of the laws as written. It is now explicitly legal.
  2. Distillery Exclusive Bottle Sales – Let’s consumers buy limited exclusive bottles that will only be available at distillery gift shops. This will draw repeat visitors to the Commonwealth and answer the question so many distillery tourists ask: “What can I buy here that I can’t get anywhere else?”
  3. Satellite Tasting Rooms – Allows distilleries to open one satellite tasting room each, enhancing downtowns and local communities around the state that might not have access to a full distillery experience.

It was No. 3 that is allowed BBC to create this new visitor center experience in downtown Louisville.

What is a Distillery Satellite Location?

A satellite is any object that orbits around something else. For example, the moon orbits the earth, and the earth orbits the sun. In the case of distilling, a satellite location orbits around the main distillery. A satellite location offers a gravitational pull for distilled spirits fans to visit the remote location that may draw a visitor to engage with the distilleries story, brands, or products. And it may eventually pull them into the distilleries homeplace orbit.

Many other states already allow satellite tasting room locations.

In addition to the beautiful architecture on this block the area is anchored by the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory. Within a few hundred yards visitors can head west to visit the Louisville Slugger 120’ tall baseball bat or head east to visit a 30’ tall gold and glistening replica statue of Michelangelo’s David outside 21C Museum Hotel Louisville. Believe me, you can’t miss either one of these landmarks. Not to mention you are within walking distance of Michter’s Fort Nelson Distillery, Kentucky Peerless Distillery and The Frazier History Museum which serves as the official starting point of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

Hart Block Building, 730 West Main Street, Louisville, Kentucky - Built 1884
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Historic photo of the Hart Block Building built 1884 featuring a cast-iron front.

According to Eric Huelsman of Joseph & Joseph + Bravura Architects, who was on hand for the open house, this area of West Main Street is the second most trafficked area in downtown Louisville after the 22,000 seat KFC Yum! Center basketball arena and concert venue less than a mile away.

Construction will start later this month with completion expected sometime in late Summer 2023.

What Will Bardstown Bourbon Company’s Louisville Location Feature?

These renderings will give you some insight as to what the future tasting room and homeplace will look like.

Bardstown Bourbon distillery is known for its modern design built on transparency and innovation. The Louisville location will carry that on by providing unique bourbon educational experiences highlighting the bourbon-maker’s strengths in blending, aging, cocktails and more, as well as a full-service bar and bottle shop. Throughout the year they will host a variety of events including limited and rare bottle releases, intimate tastings, and one-of-a-kind elevated experiences as well.

“The bourbon experience that we offer is second to none,” said Mark Erwin, President and CEO of Bardstown Bourbon Co. “We’re excited to bring this modern transparent approach to bourbon making to our Louisville home and look forward to introducing more consumers to the Bardstown Bourbon Company brand.”

“We are the modern bourbon experience, we combine innovation, transparency, and collaboration,” said Dan Callaway, VP Innovation and Hospitality. What we wanted to do is bring everything that we’re building, we’re creating and bring it to Louisville. We’ve has this idea for a log time to create a Louisville homeplace.

“What we’ve got here is an amazing space. We are going to put a full-service bar where we can do pairing, flights, rare tastings. You can come in and grab a cocktail or you can talk to one of our beverage experts and learn about our brands. We’ll have a glass walled classroom where we can do curated high-end experiences. You come in, you get a flight, we deconstruct a blend, you learn everything about it. And we’ll also have a lounge area and a retail shop so you can pick up bottles of our product.”

You can watch the interview of Erwin and Callaway here.

Bardstown Bourbon Co - VP of Hospitality & Product Development Dan Callaway and President & CEO Mark Erwin
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Bardstown Bourbon Co. VP of Hospitality & Product Development Dan Callaway and President & CEO Mark Erwin.

Design is being led by Joseph & Joseph + Bravura Architects, an architecture, interior design and master planning firm specializing in distillery design and hospitality. The firm has well over 100 years of distillery heritage, credited with designing the original Four Roses distillery in 1909. Willie Martin’s will also consult on the interior design including lighting, furniture, and other design elements. Buzick Construction will serve as contractor for the project.

Bardstown Bourbon Co. was represented by Reed Weinberg and Jenny Johnston of PRG Commercial Property Advisors, who brokered the transaction.

Nearby Attractions

Related Stories
Bardstown Bourbon Co. Has Been Sold to Chicago Based Private Investment Group 
Bardstown Bourbon Co. Announces $28.7 Million Investment to Increase Capacity by 55,000 Barrels Per Year [Renderings]

Learn more about Bardstown Bourbon Company.
View all Kentucky Distilleries.
View all Bardstown/Nelson County Distilleries.
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