Stitzel-Weller Distillery celebrates major milestone on Derby da - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Stitzel-Weller Distillery celebrates major milestone on Derby day

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- While the city of Louisville prepares to celebrate the 141st Run for the Roses, Saturday also marks an anniversary milestone for a local distillery.

Stitzel-Weller Distillery is celebrating a major anniversary by barreling its first bourbon in more than 20 years, but the history of the company also includes another well known local bourbon and its creator.

It is all pretty exciting for people who are taking a tour at the historic site. Bella Recko is one of them.

"Who would have thought that -- you know -- we're the tour group going through this," Recko said. "They're celebrating, they're having that first barrel and I'm just looking forward to trying some now."

"This week is very significant for us," said Pauline Rooney, Diageo Vice President.

It is a significant week for Stitzel-Weller and its parent company Diageo because it will be making the first barrel of whiskey from its new still.

"To be actually producing whiskey again at Stitzel-Weller after 20 years is incredible for us and we're very proud of it," Rooney said.

The rebirth of whiskey production here also comes on the company's 80th anniversary week.

"The site was originally opened on Derby Day in 1935 so it is great to come together and celebrate an 80th anniversary," said Rooney.

The anniversary celebration included tapping off the first barrel and a visit from the family of the man who opened the distillery and created the legendary Pappy Van Winkle.

"There has been a lot of legendary names have passed through this distillery and distilled great bourbon here and Pappy Van Winkle was one of them," said Rooney.

"The future looks very, very bright for Louisville, for Kentucky," said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.

Mayor Fischer said what's happening at Stitzel-Weller will also lead to more jobs in Metro Louisville.

"Bourbonism now is a 365 day a year tourism experience so we are seeing an explosion of jobs in our hospitality sector right now helping all aspects of the city at the same time."

Diageo is also in the process of building a new distillery in Shelby County.

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