The evolution of the Michter’s American whiskey brand is one we’ve followed with close interest inasmuch as we’ve followed over the same period the return of bourbon distilling heritage to downtown Louisville, Kentucky. The latter has been punctuated in recent years by the likes of Old Forester and Jim Beam opening tourism focused facilities there, while in the case of Michter’s, they’ve maintained a purely industrial distillery focus in nearby Shively, Kentucky. That’s changing now though with word of their own location opening up not too far from their Kentucky competitors.
The new Michter’s Fort Nelson Distillery, located at 801 West Main Street on Louisville’s Museum Row, sits directly across the street from The Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory and down the block from The Frazier History Museum, which has been designated the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Welcome Center. Michter’s showcase location was first built for other purposes back in 1890, being at the time “an impressive example of cast iron and stone construction with Romanesque windows and a striking corner turret rising above its neighbors.”
The building eventually fell into great disrepair before it was purchased by Michter’s in 2012, subsequently undergoing years of painstaking restoration to make it ready to house whiskey and greet curious bourbon drinkers. This is said to have included the installation of 400,000 pounds of structural steel.
As for what will go on at the Fort Nelson location, visitors will be able to experience tours, tastings and a gift shop. Whiskey production there will be conducted on a somewhat legendary pot still and cypress wood fermenter system from the original Michter’s Pennsylvania Distillery, which traces its history back to 1753. The second floor of this building, meanwhile, will feature a special bar that will offer both classic and modern cocktails and also serve as an educational hub for the local bartending community.
“It’s only fitting that a once abandoned, great American brand found its home in a once abandoned, great American building,” said Michter’s President Joseph J. Magliocco in a prepared statement. “The Fort Nelson Building is an architectural gem, and our team is so fortunate to have had the opportunity to bring it back to life and make it a special place for everyone to visit.”