Beverage Industry

Brown-Forman to expand Woodford Reserve Distillery

Louisville-based company to invest more than $35 million in facility expansion

June 28, 2013

Brown-Forman Corp., Louisville, Ky., announced its intention to expand the Woodford Reserve Distillery to meet the anticipated growing global demand for its super-premium Woodford Reserve Kentucky bourbon. The more than $35 million investment includes the addition of three new warehouses capable of housing more than 165,000 barrels of bourbon.

“Brown-Forman is proud to expand the Woodford Reserve Distillery, America’s oldest working distillery, located in the heart of Kentucky’s Bluegrass Region,” said Chris Morris, master distiller for Woodford Reserve, in a statement. “The world’s growing taste for premium North American whiskey is driving record exports of these U.S. spirits. Woodford Reserve experienced a record volume of nearly 250,000 9-liter cases and grew net sales by 28 percent globally in fiscal 2013. We believe strong consumer interest in bourbon will continue, and we’re expanding our production capacity in an effort to meet this demand.”

The expansion of the Woodford Reserve Distillery, located off McCracken Pike in Versailles, Ky., includes plans for the addition of three bourbon maturation warehouses, new stills, expansion of the existing bottling line, and improvements to increase general efficiency and productivity. It is projected to add 15 new jobs during the life of the project, the company said.

The three new pot stills, to be built as need dictates, will be made of copper and housed in the existing distillation building. The Woodford Reserve Distillery was the first distillery to use copper pot stills and the triple distillation process to handcraft bourbon, according to the company.

Brown-Forman opened the Woodford Reserve Distillery and introduced Woodford Reserve Kentucky bourbon in 1996. Since Woodford Reserve’s introduction, it has experienced double-digit growth rates each year, it says.