As our modern whiskey boom continues, leading producer Buffalo Trace Distillery is on track to make more bourbon than ever before, as progress on its expansion project continues.
Nine years ago, expansion at Buffalo Trace Distillery began to meet growing consumer demand. To date, those efforts have resulted in an increase in whiskey-making at the distillery of 50 percent. In the coming years that number is projected to double with the completion of Buffalo Trace’s additional still house.
The $1.2-billion expansion encompasses all operations at the distillery, starting with a new distribution center and bottling operation in 2015 and 2019. More recently, Buffalo Trace added 14 new barrel warehouses, 12 additional fermenters, additional cookers, a new cooling system and tripled the size of its visitor center. In 2022, Buffalo Trace’s additional dry house, hammer mill, additional still house and wastewater treatment plant were constructed, on pace to become operational by the end of this year.
The newly constructed still house will start up in December 2022, and allows Buffalo Trace to double its production, the company says. The second still house is located adjacent to Buffalo Trace’s existing 1930s still house, and contains a duplicate still of Buffalo Trace’s existing still, standing 40 feet tall with a capacity of 60,000 gallons a day.
“We’re finishing the electrical work in the new still house now, and then will move into commissioning it for test runs in the next few weeks. If all goes as planned, we will start production before the end of this year,” says Harlen Wheatley, master distiller. “We are excited to double our distillation capacity so we can bring more bourbons to our fans.”
In addition to increased production, the expansion has added 200 production-focused jobs at Buffalo Trace during the past four years. There will be up to 50 more jobs added in the coming few years.
“We appreciate our fan’s patience as we’ve been laying down the foundation to produce more American whiskey than we ever have before,” says Sara Saunders, vice president, Buffalo Trace Distillery. “We are still catching up to consumer demand and though our bourbons can be hard to find at times, more is coming! When our new still starts early next year we will double our production . . . And then we wait for it to age because one thing we will not do is cut any quality corners by lowering proof or age. We are committed to maintaining the highest quality whiskey at fair prices.”