It’s not every day you open up a 100,000 gallon, 81 year old bottle of bourbon but that’s what just happened at the Brown-Forman headquarters when they unveiled the renovated Old Forester water tower that sits atop the building in Louisville, Kentucky.
In September 2014, Brown-Forman announced it was making a major new investment in its founding brand, Old Forester – America’s first bottled bourbon. Since then, they’ve announced the construction of a new $45 million distillery, the promotion of Campbell Brown, fifth generation descendant of company founder George Garvin Brown to the new position of President of Old Forester, the creation of the role of Master Bourbon Specialist filled by Jackie Zykan and all new packaging for the product line.
The New Bottle Design
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Old Forester’s packaging changes include a new glass shape with a slight taper, premium metal closure, enlarged founder’s statement on paper label, foil embellishments, refined lower label and premium glass punt. (What’s a glass bottle punt?)
A new bottle design meant the nearly 63 foot tall iconic water tower built in 1936 in the shape of an Old Forester bottle of bourbon would need a facelift. The company started the renovation eight months ago in October 2016 and after removing 42 coats of paint, modifying the shape to match the new bottle and applying new paint it was time for the grand unveiling.
“As the First Bottled Bourbon™, and the founding brand of this company, it’s appropriate for us to pay tribute to the legacy of Old Forester and the brand’s bright future by celebrating it in giant proportions,” said Campbell Brown, president of Old.
And after a few words from Campbell Brown at a company gathering the curtain was dropped on the newly renovated iconic water tower.
Old Forester Water Tower Quick Facts
- The tank is 62 feet 5 inches tall, 20 feet in diameter and towers 218 feet above the ground.
- It has a capacity of 100,000 gallons
- It’s the equivalent of 50,472 – 750ml bottles
- It’s 8.5 Million 1.5 ounce shots
- When completely full, the water tower weighs approximately 1 million pounds
- It was originally designed and built in 1936 by Caldwell Tank Company
- It cost $100,000 in 1936 – Brown-Forman’s entire advertising budget for the year.
- The tower was the 4th tallest structure in the state when it was built
- Had Circus daredevil serial dancers Benny & Betty Fox perform on its cap in 1937 (I don’t think they would go for this in 2017.)
And with all these changes, the company is happy to point out, the liquid inside the bottle is the same old bourbon.