When a distillery reaches the point when they are ready to expand to keep up with demand they have many decisions to make. Whether those decisions are based on superstition, science or just good business sense is in the eye of the beholder.
What some distillers do is simply double whatever they are doing today. They try to keep changes to a minimum and basically mirror what they have in place. This helps to guarantee that whatever they do the spirits they make in the future will taste just like the spirits they are making today. This is especially important when it comes to spirits like bourbon that may not come to maturity for four to eight years.
Woodford Reserve Distillery has just announced they will be doubling capacity at its historic distillery in Versailles, Kentucky. Rather than go with some new fangled whiz bang distillery equipment or 21st century design Woodford is sticking to its time honored use of three 1,650 gallon copper pot still design. If you take a look at the rendering of their expansion plans you’ll see that it’s basically a mirror of what is there now.
“Woodford Reserve is celebrating its 25th anniversary throughout 2021, and the expansion of the distillery allows us to look to the next 25 years,” Master Distiller Chris Morris said. “Woodford Reserve Distillery uses copper pot stills in a triple distillation process to handcraft bourbon, and today’s announcement builds on that legacy.”
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Brown-Forman President and CEO Lawson Whiting said, “Woodford Reserve is a key driver of growth for the company — and the investment ensures the brand continues to expand around the world. Woodford Reserve has enjoyed exceptional growth over the last decade, maintaining a double-digit net sales growth rate year-to-date with more than one million case sales.”
In addition to the three new pots stills, the expansion includes a new building that will house the boiler plant; additional fermentation tanks; a grain unloading area; a barrel unloading/storage area; and a conference and training center for employees.
Brown-Forman opened the Woodford Reserve Distillery and introduced Woodford Reserve Kentucky Bourbon in 1996. Woodford Reserve Distillery is a national historic landmark where distilling first began in 1812. The expansion plans were reviewed by the Kentucky Heritage Council, the state historic preservation office.
Construction will begin this spring and is expected to be completed in summer 2022. The Woodford Reserve Distillery will remain fully operational throughout the construction project.