Last week saw bourbon brand Old Forester pass a key milestone in its distillery build project – the arrival of its shiny new 44ft copper column still! Watch as engineers painstakingly winch the giant structure into the new Louisville-based stillhouse.
Historic whiskey Old Forester can trace its roots back to the 1870s, and was the first bourbon to be sold in sealed glass bottles in the US. It’s very much a national treasure of the whiskey world, so when parent firm Brown-Forman announced plans to construct a dedicated distillery for the brand in 2014, we, like many others, sat up and paid attention.
Billed as a ‘bourbon experience’, the new site, located on the city’s iconic Whiskey Row, will include fermentation tanks, stills, a bottling hall and an on-site cooperage – and once finished, will double the Old Forester output (which is handy, seeing as sales soared by 39% from 2014-2017, according to financial reports). The Old Forester Distillery will house a visitor centre too, to “showcase further one of the greatest tasting and most historic bourbons”, Brown-Forman CEO Paul Varga said when the project was first announced.
It all sounds pretty cool – but the build has been beset with problems. In 2015, a fire ripped through Whiskey Row, and while the Old Forester site escaped relatively unscathed, the initial autumn 2016 open date was pushed back several months. Costs have also escalated – the proposed US$30 million investment has spiralled to upwards of $45m, and after further delays, commissioning is now not expected until spring 2018.
Everyone wants more great whiskey in the world – and an 18-month delay on a project of this scale comes as a bit of a blow to all involved. So we were delighted this week when we spotted on Twitter the safe arrival of the giant copper still – and it’s quite the spectacle!
The lustrous 44ft-long beauty was successfully driven through the streets of Louisville and lifted by crane into the historic Whiskey Row warehouse building. Brown-Forman captured the whole undertaking on film, which you can watch below.
Our new Old Forester Distillery gained a heart & soul today.
Let’s raise a glass to the arrival of our gorgeous 44′ copper column still. 🥃 pic.twitter.com/4oHm5S3STo
— Old Forester (@oldforester) August 5, 2017
We’re delighted for the team – and can’t wait to see the rest of the Old Forester Distillery project come to fruition!