New Old Forester Distillery Lets You Char Bourbon Barrels - The Whiskey Wash

New Old Forester Distillery Lets You Char Bourbon Barrels

By Nino Marchetti / April 15, 2016

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When we last looked at plans for the new Old Forester Distillery in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, all signs pointed towards continued buildout despite a devastating fire in an adjacent building on the historic Whiskey Row.

Fast forward to now and Brown-Forman, the parent company of the distillery, has just unveiled a series of renderings featuring how things are progressing and what you’ll be able to do when you visit it.

These renderings, which you can see at the end of this story, show that:

the distillery and bourbon experience will be a world-class distilling operation and visitor’s destination showcasing the supreme craftsmanship of Old Forester, America’s First Bottled Bourbon. In detail, the renderings highlight key locations within the distillery such as the welcome area, fermentation room, cooperage, tasting room, and bottling line.

The 60,000 square foot facility, once complete by late 2017, won’t just be for show and tell. It will also be an actual functioning distillery, including “fermentation, distilling, barrel making, aging and bottling,” with the goal of making some 100,000 cases of Old Forester annually. Visitors will be able to get up close and personal (my favorite is the push button barrel charring), with specific stations explained below in the captions.

“Upon completion, the Old Forester Distillery will provide tourists and bourbon enthusiasts with an up close look at our bourbon making process and share with them a captivating story of entrepreneurship and achievement that characterizes Old Forester’s 146 year history,” said Old Forester President and fifth generation family member, Campbell Brown, in a statement.

The previously mentioned fire, which caused significant damage, was prevented from severely impacting the Old Forester project via a just-installed firewall. It still delayed the opening of the new distillery, however, pushing its debut towards the end of next year.

Old Forester Distillery

Old Forester Distillery (front of building) at night

 

Reception lobby

Reception lobby

 

Lobby welcome area where tours will gather before guided tours begin. This area houses a display case with archival bottles, printed depictions of early ads and founder George Garvin Brown’s portrait along with a flexible video screen for revolving content.

Lobby welcome area where tours will gather before guided tours begin. This area houses a display case with archival bottles, printed depictions of early ads and founder George Garvin Brown’s portrait along with a flexible video screen for revolving content.

 

Barrel elevator off the ticketing center of the lobby.

Barrel elevator off the ticketing center of the lobby.

 

Audio columns with themed content for key moments in the Old Forester brand story that include: the importance of founder and innovator, George Garvin Brown and Brown-Forman history /civic engagement in the Louisville community.

Audio columns with themed content for key moments in the Old Forester brand story that include: the importance of founder and innovator, George Garvin Brown and Brown-Forman history /civic engagement in the Louisville community.

 

Fermentation room with graphics highlighting ingredients and process. These tanks extend down to a lower level that will be visible through grated flooring.

Fermentation room with graphics highlighting ingredients and process. These tanks extend down to a lower level that will be visible through grated flooring.

 

Barrel charring- “Charred to perfection” with the push of a button. One member of each tour group will activate the charring process by ‘igniting’ the inside of a new, white oak barrel.

Barrel charring- “Charred to perfection” with the push of a button. One member of each tour group will activate the charring process by ‘igniting’ the inside of a new, white oak barrel.

 

Cooperage. Each station will feature live interaction with the people behind the production. This area allows visitors the opportunity to engage with the Cooper as the barrels are tested for leakage and finished.

Cooperage. Each station will feature live interaction with the people behind the production. This area allows visitors the opportunity to engage with the Cooper as the barrels are tested for leakage and finished.

 

Barrel Aging. 3 stories tall, measuring 36 feet high this rickhouse has the capacity to age between 800-900 barrels.

Barrel Aging. 3 stories tall, measuring 36 feet high this rickhouse has the capacity to age between 800-900 barrels.

 

Bottling line. This distillery will have the ability to bottle all of our unique packaging needs for Old Forester with a potential production of 100,000 cases annually.

Bottling line. This distillery will have the ability to bottle all of our unique packaging needs for Old Forester with a potential production of 100,000 cases annually.

 

Tasting room. This unique space within the distillery will provide buyers of Old Forester barrels a private and exclusive opportunity to select their whisky on the property.

Tasting room. This unique space within the distillery will provide buyers of Old Forester barrels a private and exclusive opportunity to select their whisky on the property.