Brown-Forman To Expand Its Louisville Distillery

By Allyson Nichols / March 3, 2021

Kentucky-based Brown-Forman recently announced its plans to expand the Brown-Forman Distillery, which will include the creation of an oak tree nursery on the property for a long-term study of oak tree sustainability.

With construction expected to take more than two years to complete, the expansion will double the capacity of the facility with the site set to be fully operational throughout this period. Plans for the $95 million expansion will include:

• Doubling the number of fermenters;
• Adding column still capacity and mash cookers;
• Improving the grain handling and by-products system;
• Improving on-site traffic flow for safety;
• Creating green space for a tree nursery; and
• Modernizing the workspace, including a new break room, new locker rooms, and wellness space.

2020 Old Forester Birthday Bourbon

2020 Old Forester Birthday Bourbon (image via Brown-Forman)

The Old Forrester Tree Nursery will stand as the first urban white oak seedling establishment and genetic study and will be conducted in partnership with the University of Kentucky’s Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, serving as a model for other urban studies in the future with the goal of improving economic and ecological value in urban, rural, and natural forests. Brown-Forman and partners will plant acorns in the nursery later this spring.

This program adds to the white oak sustainability work Brown-Forman supports as one of the founding members of the White Oak Initiative, which works to ensure the long-term sustainability of America’s white oak.

The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development approved Brown-Forman for tax incentives up to $5 million under the Kentucky Reinvestment Act, allowing for the company to keep a portion of its investment over the term of the agreement through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting certain targets. An additional $500,000 was approved under the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act, which will allow the company to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on certain construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development, and electronic processing equipment.

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“The demand for American whiskey worldwide is a result of the craftsmanship and specialness of Kentucky’s signature spirit,” Brown-Forman Chief Production and Sustainability Officer Alex Alvarez said in a prepared statement. “This expansion will allow us to increase production, improve efficiency, and enhance the workspace so we can continue bringing whiskey, made right here in Louisville, Kentucky, to the world.”