The Diageo-owned Bulleit whiskey brand has officially opened its new distillery, a $115-million facility in Shelbyville, Kentucky.
Already a major global brand in brown spirits, Bulleit plans to expand production significantly with the new distillery (pictured atop). The 300-acre campus includes four barrel houses (each capable of holding 55,000 barrels), a 52-foot still and the first industrial solar array in Shelby County, the company says, which will collect enough energy to run all on-site mobile equipment.
The distillery is already producing whiskey. Diageo has stated the possibility that the distillery may produce non-Bulleit whiskey brands in the future.
Builleit was founded by lawyer-turned-entrepreneur Tom Bulleit in 1987. He resuscitated an old family brand and recipe for bourbon. He later sold the brand to Diageo, but remains with Bulleit as its brand ambassador. We spoked with him in September about the new distillery.
A decade ago Bulleit sold about 37,000 cases annually. Last year, global sales (including the brand’s popular rye whiskey) topped 1.1 million — a 29% growth over 2015.
“Seeing this distillery come to life has been a truly surreal experience that couldn’t have been achieved without the tireless work of so many men and women,” said Bulleit in a press release. “We can’t wait to share the delicious whiskey that will be produced here for centuries to come.”
In 2014 Diageo invested $18 million in building the Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Experience at Stitzel-Weller in Louisville.