Old Forester and parent company Brown-Forman Corporation announced that they completed their purchase of two properties at 117 and 119 West Main Street, Louisville, Kentucky. The properties are part of a revitalization of the Old Forester brand announced in September of 2014. The September release said they would spend $30 million on the project. In its latest announcement, the company anticipates investing approximately $45 million.
The Old Forester Distillery on Whiskey Row in Louisville is expected to open in the fall of 2016. The combined buildings have approximately 55,000 square feet with 52 linear feet facing Main Street. The brick and masonry facade of the building will be preserved and fully restored during the project.
The two historic properties were built around 1857 and used for warehousing barrels of whiskey produced at numerous distilleries in the area. At least nineteen distillers, wholesalers, and other whiskey-related businesses called this block of West Main Street home. Between 1900 and 1919, Brown-Forman operated out of the 117 West Main Street building before moving to its current headquarters at 850 Dixie Highway.
Old Forester was founded in 1870 by George Garvin Brown. Brown believed Old Forester was of such consistent high quality that he sealed it, signed it, and pledged “There is nothing better in the market.” Old Forester is America’s first bottled bourbon. In the 1800’s bourbon was initially sold in pharmacies as a medicinal product. The product was not sealed when it was delivered. Unscrupulous merchants were known to extend their supply of whisky by substituting a portion of its contents. As way to guard against adulteration, Brown delivered Old Forester in sealed glass bottles providing a greater level of assurance of quality for the brand.
The working distillery will include fermentation, distilling, barrel making, filling and dumping, and bottling. The new Old Forester Distillery will allow the company to double its current production of Old Forester.