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Brown-Forman starts work on new distillery for Old Forester bourbon

Published:  23 July, 2015

Brown-Forman has begun construction on a new distillery for its Old Forester bourbon brand in a return to West Main Street in Louisville, Kentucky - otherwise known as Whiskey Row.

The historic street was once the epicentre of the bourbon industry but was threatened with demolition in 2011, before being saved by campaigners working with the city and developers.

Brown-Forman is investing $30 million in the construction of a distillery to produce 100,000 cases of whiskey each year behind the facade of two buildings in the row.

The site will also serve as a visitor centre and spiritual home for the brand. Some production will remain at Brown-Forman's other location in Louisville.

Kentucky governor Steve Beshear said: "The Kentucky bourbon industry has nearly doubled its workforce, tripled its number of distilleries, and set new modern records for exports and barrel inventories.

"Bourbon is truly one of Kentucky's signature industries, and Old Forester is one of our many major brands.

"I want to congratulate Brown-Forman as an outstanding corporate partner and for investing in the Louisville economy and bringing back the heritage of Whiskey Row."

The properties where the new distillery will be housed were built around 1857 and used to store barrels of whiskey. At least 19 distillers and other whiskey-related companies were based in the street, including Old Forester.

Old Forester president Campbell Brown, a descendant of the founder, said: "Bringing our founding brand back to the site where it first began, is cause for celebration at Brown-Forman for both our employees and my family but it's also a dedicated investment into this region that we hope will drive great tourism interest to the community.

"A few years ago, the millennial generation began to focus on brands and categories that delivered not just taste and flavour, but authenticity. The brand has enjoyed nice growth over the last two years and is extremely well-positioned to cement the brand's credentials into consumers' hearts and minds."

Old Forester is imported to the UK by Mangrove.