Diageo’s initial investment in building the distillery is $115 million for the site. Combined with the $18 million investment that was made to open the Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Experience at Stitzel-Weller, the company says Bulleit has contributed more than $130 million to Kentucky’s economy since 2014.
The Bulleit Distilling Co was founded in 1987 by a young entrepreneur who left his job as a lawyer to pursue his passion – making bourbon.
Tom Bulleit said: “We’re so proud to open the Bulleit Distilling Co. here in Shelbyville. Seeing this distillery come to life has been a truly surreal experience that couldn’t have been achieved without the tireless work of so many men and women. We can’t wait to share the delicious whiskey that will be produced here for centuries to come.”
The opening coincides with the brand’s 30th anniversary. It was attended by Governor Matt Bevin and a number of other elected officials and dignitaries.
Bulleit was bought by Seagram in 1997, and was and made at its Four Roses distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. Diageo and Pernod Ricard bought Seagram and carved up the assets between them. The Four Roses distillery was subsequently sold by Diageo to the Japanese drinks company, Kirin.
The new distillery employs 30 people for the distillation and maturation processes. While the distillery is opening at the previously announced capacity of 1.8 million proof gallons annually, it was built as a modular distillery and expansion opportunities are being explored, says Diageo.
Diageo says the distillery, which has already begun producing Bulleit bourbon, represents the latest technology in warehousing and distillation, including features that help conserve and reuse resources, resulting in improved efficiency and less impact on the environment.
The 300-acre campus includes four barrel houses (each capable of holding 55,000 barrels), a 52-foot still that was crafted by Vendome Copper and Brass Works in Louisville and the first industrial solar array in Shelby County, which will collect enough energy to run all on-site mobile equipment.
Gov. Bevin said. “Bourbon, in addition to its status as a signature Kentucky product, is an important driver of state’s economy and workforce.
Shelby County Judge-Executive Dan Ison said: “From providing quality jobs, working with local farmers to buy corn and using by product for animal feed, to participating in our community, we are look forward to a bright future working together.”