The Distillery’s Largest Expansion since the Repeal of Prohibition
FRANKFORT, FRANKLIN COUNTY, KY (June 13, 2019) Buffalo Trace Distillery is making great progress on its $1.2 billion infrastructure investment started in 2016, with four new barrel warehouses built within the past 18 months and the $50 million bottling hall nearing completion. Still, though, it will be a few more years before this National Historic Landmark Distillery predicts it will catch up with consumers’ growing demand for its popular bourbons.
New barrel warehouses AA, BB, CC, and DD are built and filled with barrels containing what will eventually fill 70 million bottles up on the “whiskey farm,” the 200+ acres purchased adjacent to Buffalo Trace a few years ago. The fifth new warehouse – “EE” – is taking shape, with construction of number six and seven barrel warehouses planned for 2019. Each of these new warehouses are insulated and heated during the winter months, a rarity for bourbon warehouses. (All barrel warehouses at Buffalo Trace are heated, a tradition started by E.H. Taylor Jr. in the 1800s, and continuing today.) The reasoning behind heating the warehouses is to keep the bourbon moving in and out of the wood as it ages during the cold Kentucky winters, rather than lying dormant when the temperature dips down. These new warehouses cost about $7 million each to build and another $21 million each to fill with barrels, making this a significant part of the $1.2 billion investment. A new barrel warehouse is being built every few months for the next several years.
But all those aging barrels will require more bottling capacity when they come of age, and Buffalo Trace is in the finishing stages of its $50 million bottling hall, located on site near its new distribution center which was completed in 2015. Already some bottling lines are
running in the new bottling hall, as construction concludes in other parts of the 110,000 square foot building. The bottling hall will be complete in August and offers improved efficiency, flexibility and overall quality for the Distillery’s award-winning brands.
But all those barrels and bottles means whiskey production must be increased too, which is why Buffalo Trace is adding a new cooling tower this summer. The cooling tower chills the water that is used for cooling down the grain after it is cooked into mash. Also on tap for this summer is the addition of four new cookers, twice the size of the existing cookers. Plus, four new fermenters are being installed. These 92,000 gallons fermenting tanks will be same size as the existing fermenters - the largest in the distilling industry. The dry house, the area where used grain is dried and sold, will receive new handling equipment and a new evaporator.
The production area at Buffalo Trace is not the only thing getting an addition; the Visitor Center will be expanded again in the next year, as visitors continue to flock to the Distillery, who had a record year in 2018 with 231,523 guests.
Unfortunately though, fans of Buffalo Trace Bourbon and the other whiskeys made at the historic distillery will need to remain patient for a few more years, as demand continues to exceed supply. “We’ve been increasing production for many years now. We’ll fill more barrels this year than ever before in our 246 year history,” said Senior Marketing Director Kris Comstock. “Many of our bourbons are aged for eight years or more, so although we have far more than a decade ago, demand continues to outpace our supply of mature bourbon. There will be more available every year, but it will be awhile before bottles are readily available on liquor store shelves. While we’re flattered these brands have become so popular, we do understand the frustration our fans are experiencing when they see empty store shelves. We promise we are doing everything we can, but we can’t speed up the aging process, so we just ask for continued patience.”
Buffalo Trace Distillery also remains committed to not raising prices due to the supply / demand imbalance or diluting proof just to fill more bottles. Maintaining high quality and taste standards are most important to the world’s most award-winning distillery. Comprising the time it takes to age great bourbon, just to fill more bottles today, is not an option for Buffalo Trace either. “You can’t cheat Mother Nature and you can’t hurry Father Time,” says Master
Distiller Harlen Wheatley. The brands made at Buffalo Trace Distillery will remain on allocation to ensure every state receives some of these bourbons each month. To see a video of the progress Buffalo Trace has made on its $1.2 billion expansion in the past year, click here.
About Buffalo Trace Distillery
Buffalo Trace Distillery is an American family-owned company based in Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky. The Distillery's rich tradition dates back to 1773 and includes such legends as E.H. Taylor, Jr., George T. Stagg, Albert B. Blanton, Orville Schupp, and Elmer T. Lee. Buffalo Trace Distillery is a fully operational Distillery producing bourbon, rye and vodka on site and is a National Historic Landmark as well as is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Distillery has won 21 distillery titles since 2000 from such notable publications as Whisky Magazine, Whisky Advocate Magazine and Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Its Col. E. H. Taylor, Jr. Four Grain Bourbon was named World Whiskey of the Year by “Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible 2018.” Buffalo Trace Distillery has also garnered more than 500 awards for its wide range of premium whiskies. To learn more about Buffalo Trace Distillery visit www.buffalotracedistillery.com. To download images from Buffalo Trace Distillery visit http://www.buffalotracedistillery.com/media