LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Trish Bowers and her sisters traveled hours to get to Woodford Reserve on Wednesday, which is a common theme at one of the world’s most popular Bourbon Distilleries.
“It’s absolutely lovely," she said. "We’re on a sister’s trip.”
Woodford Reserve had a $35 million plan to upgrade the distillery five years ago, including $2 million dollars to modernize its former welcome center for its 100,000 visitors each year.
“Visitation at Woodford Reserve is increasing at a double-digit number, a good 10-15% increase each year,” Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris said. “So now, we are at a good 152,000, and the numbers keep going up.”
Last fiscal year was a record-breaking year for tourism at Woodford, and officials quickly learned the old welcome center wasn't big enough.
“That's why we have to have this new welcome center, just to help alleviate that rush and build more for the future," Morris said. "It's a good problem to have.”
The new welcome center construction has been two years in the making, and it opened Wednesday.
Tours will start at the new welcome center. Visitors will hop on a bus and travel across McCracken Pike to the fermentation, distillation, maturation and bottling center.
“Kentucky Bourbon is a thriving, economic and tourism powerhouse for our commonwealth with $8.6 billion in annual economic impact and 20,100 jobs carrying over $1 billion in payroll,” Kentucky Distillers Association President Eric Gregory said.
As Kentucky's Bourbon trail continues to grow its 1.4 million stops a year, Woodford officials said it's only a matter of time before they pour even more money in expansion.
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