The long-silent Stitzel-Weller distillery will once again produce whiskey in the near future, Diageo announced Monday. But don’t expect a rapid return to the once prominent distillery’s glory years any time soon.
The new visitor center at Stitzel-Weller, which will act as a brand hub for the formerly homeless Bulleit Bourbon, will soon include a “small batch craft still,” according to a press release. The company is still in the process of planning what that still will produce, but Diageo says it will remain “focused on innovation.”
Any distilling at Stitzel-Weller is good news. Mothballed since 1992, Stitzel-Weller is known for producing some of the most highly regarded bourbons in U.S. history, including Pappy Van Winkle, W.L. Weller, Cabin Still, Old Fitzergerald and Rebel Yell.
Though the company says it’s still working out the details, it’s clear they don’t imagine distilling on that scale — at least for now.
Whisky Advocate reported last year that production would resume at Stitzel-Weller, but the company later contradicted the report. The magazine’s publisher John Hansell stood by the report, saying the company had backtracked on its decision.
Problems with asbestos has undermined efforts to revamp the distillery, according to WhiskyCast.
Diageo has continued to use warehouse aging barrels at Stitzel-Weller, including the recently released “Orphan Barrel” series, the first three releases of which contain bourbon originally distilled at both the old and new Bernheim distilleries.
The news of the still at Stitzel-Weller was announced on the same day as the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the visitor center, called the “Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Experience.”
Image: The Stitzel-Weller distillery by DL Duncan @ Flickr.