Brown-Forman pushing Old Forester forward by moving back to comp - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Brown-Forman pushing Old Forester forward by moving back to company's roots

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Brown hasn't run the Brown-Forman company's flagship brand in almost 100 years, but that's changing.

The leadership change comes as the company is trying to resurrect Old Forester through a new distillery and new leadership.

Bourbon is in Campbell Brown's blood, but a leadership role within Brown-Forman is something he's earned.

Brown started working in the mail room of his family's company when he was just 17-years-old.

"A lot of the conversations around the table revolved around brands and whiskey and my ancestors and who they were and what they did," he explained.

Today, he's taking over as president of the Old Forester brand.

"As you talk about bourbon, to not be talking about Old Forester is an opportunity lost," Brown said.

Despite being the company's first bottled bourbon, Old Forester has taken a back seat to other brands in recent decades.

In his new role, Brown will be tasked with building the brand nationwide.

"Just in the last two years, the momentum that we've seen on the brand gave us the confidence to do something really special -- to open up a second chapter for Old Forester at Brown Forman," he said.

That chapter sits along East Main Street in downtown Louisville as the company renovates a historic Whiskey Row building into a new state-of-the-art distillery.

Built in 1857, the building was the first Brown Forman distillery. Old Forrester was stored and bottled in the building until Brown-Forman sold the property in 1923.

"It's going to be state of the art, first class experience," Brown said of the old building's renovation plans.

Brown is welcoming a new urban distillery in downtown Louisville, in the same building where the first barrel of Old Forester was bottled. Once completed, Brown says the distillery will produce 20 percent of all Old Forester bourbon, or 100,000 cases a year.

The company will welcome public tours of the distillery, where visitors will get "up close and personal" with bottling lines and mash tubs.

"That's a commitment, that's a long term commitment to building and being here for this brand," Brown explained. "It really changed perspectives not only internally but externally."

Bringing Old Forester back to its roots, and back to popularity, is the goal in the transition.

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