Woodford Reserve distillery expanding - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Woodford Reserve distillery expanding

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WOODFORD COUNTY, Ky. (WDRB) -- It is another sign of Kentucky's bourbon boom.

Louisville based Brown Forman is spending millions of dollars to expand its operations at its Woodford Reserve distillery near Versailles in Woodford County Kentucky.

The Woodford Reserve distillery is part of the ever growing Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

Last year a record 135,000 people visited the distillery.

So Brown Forman is spending $1.5 million to expand its busy visitors center.

"We have an increasing number of visitors where we need to enhance and enlarge our facility," says Dee Ford, Homeplace Manager for Woodford Reserve.

On Thursday, there was a steady stream of tourists. October, with racing underway at nearby Keeneland, is one of the busiest times of the year.

A group from Michigan was taking the tour on Thursday.

"We just wanted to visit a few bourbon places," says Tammi Morris from Michigan. "My sister lives in Lexington and wanted to take some friends to explore the country and we really enjoy coming to Kentucky."

Plans call for more interactive displays plus other improvements including a new tasting room, improvements to the retail shop and additional restrooms.

Construction is set to begin next month with completion expected by the start of April of next year.

But the expansion at the visitors center isn't the only project about to get underway.

Brown Forman is also investing $35 million to build new stills and modernizing its bottling line as the boom in bourbon tourism is matched by the boom in the worldwide sales of bourbon.

The spirits company also plans to build five new warehouses during the next several years.

During the past two years, distilleries all over Kentucky have invested a total of $300 million in upgrading their operations.

We are just experiencing tremendous growth," adds Ford, "and this is just a natural evolution of the consumers and visitors being interested in bourbon."

Thursday afternoon, the state approved tourism tax incentives for the visitors center expansion.

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