Buffalo Trace Busts Out With Massive Expansion Plans

Kentucky’s venerable distillery Buffalo Trace, with distilling tradition going back to 1773, is a facility both old in scope and slowly changing as well. One such overhaul, on a large scale, is ongoing now as more than $200 million is being spent by parent company Sazerac to add new aging warehouses and expand distilling operations.

image via Buffalo Trace

Here’s specifically what Buffalo Trace is up to, according to information recently provided to us by their PR team:

Already, Buffalo Trace is finishing up the conversion of two former office buildings back into barrel warehouses, with warehouses “R” and “S” being filled with barrels to age now, and warehouses “T” and “U” completed last year. The two buildings hold a combined 200,000 barrels of aging whiskey, but this is still not enough to meet the growing demand for Buffalo Trace.

In addition to repurposing warehouses, Buffalo Trace is also building new barrel warehouses on the additional 200 acres of farmland it purchased a few years ago. These are the first new barrel warehouses with significant capacity that Buffalo Trace Distillery has built since 1951.  Ground has already been broken on the first warehouse, which will hold more than 55,000 barrels, and completion is expected by the end of this year, with the first barrels planned to be rolled in early 2018. After that, a new warehouse will be built every four months for the next several years. These new warehouses will each cost about $7 million to build and another $21 million to fill with barrels, making this expansion a significant investment.

All that bourbon needs someplace to be bottled, which is why Buffalo Trace is moving its existing bottling operation into its old Distribution Center, located near the visitor parking lot. The new bottling hall will be more efficient, flexible, and improve overall quality. The move is expected to be complete by the end of 2018.

Once the bottling hall moves, the Distillery will install larger cookers and additional fermenters for more bourbon production.  Already this summer, bourbon production is scheduled to run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for the first time in known history.

“This year we plan to match the all-time high of barrel production here at Buffalo Trace, set in 1973,” said Harlen Wheatley, master distiller, in a prepared statement. “Next year we’ll exceed that and set new production records.”

About the author

Nino Marchetti

As the founder of The Whiskey Wash, I'm crazy about whiskey, I can tell you, and I aim to share this passion with you through this site. As for my professional background, I’m a writer and journalist by trade and an Internet dot-com veteran prior to that. My most recent venture prior to this was as the founder and editor-in-chief of EarthTechling, a leading consumer focused green technology news website. I also have an extensive collection of whiskies from both start up distilleries and centuries old operations in Scotland alike, sprinkled with some other odds and ends from around the world, that have provided me with a unique picture of what’s going on with this wonderful spirit.