Diageo announced at the end of last month that it planned to build a $115 million bourbon distillery in Shelby County, Kentucky. The company still hasn’t offered many details about its plans, but Whisky Advocate reports that the idea is for the new distillery to make Bulleit.
The company plans to build the distillery in Shelby County, but still faces some hurdles. If all goes well, Diageo hopes to break ground within months and start distilling spirit by late 2016.
Bulleit bourbon is currently a sourced whiskey, aged and bottled by Diageo and distilled at Four Roses since the brand was born in 1987, according to Whisky Cast. The brand introduced a rye whiskey to the line in 2011 produced by MGP in Indiana.
But with the boom in the bourbon market, Four Roses notified Diageo last year that it planned to terminate the supply contract, potentially leaving the drinks giant without a producer for an increasingly popular brand. The construction plans appear aimed at solving the problem, though it remains unclear whether the new distillery will be named “Bulleit.”
On another note, the news of Diageo’s new distillery appears to kill off any further hope that the company plans to revive the silent Stitzel-Weller. The legendary distillery co-founded by Julian “Pappy” Van Winkle that once produced Old Fitzgerald, Weller, Old Cabin Still and Rebel Yell hasn’t made spirit since 1992. Rather than revive it, Diageo is looking into the possibility of transporting the Stitzel-Weller stills to the new location, according to Whisky Advocate.
The company had toyed with the idea of reopening Stitzel-Weller, perhaps even coming close to announcing plans last year, but instead opted to create a $2 million visitor’s center for the homeless Bulleit. Whiskey authority Chuck Cowdery has cited the costly need for asbestos abatement as the prime reason for Diageo’s reluctance to reopen Stitzel-Weller. The company does not own the brands once produced there.
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