Old Forester Distillery Opening Delayed to 2017 After Whiskey Row Fire

The opening of the new Old Forester Distillery has been pushed back several months to 2017 because of the recent fire that devastated Whiskey Row.

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer joined Brown-Forman executives Wednesday to celebrate the continuation of the development project. Old Forester President Campbell Brown said that the recent fire in adjacent buildings on Louisville’s Whiskey Row caused some unforeseen complications.

“Today we are changing the expected opening date of the new Old Forester distillery to 2017,” he said. “This date change will accommodate some of the necessary work and unanticipated delays we’ve encountered.”

Right across from the site of the planned distillery, attendees applauded and raised their glasses as a banner fell to reveal the new Old Forester logo hung from the preserved facades of burned buildings.

Fischer said he hopes the urban distillery will attract visitors as a part of the burgeoning bourbon tourist market in Kentucky. Bourbon, which fell out of fashion in the 1970s, but has experienced a resurgence in recent years.

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As glasses with the 1870 Original Batch were passed at the event, master distiller Chris Morris explained that nearly 20 whiskey-related businesses used to operate on the strip of Main Street, garnering it the name of Whiskey Row. Many of the other brands eventually faded, but Morris said a return to bourbon’s original block will emphasize the heritage of the product.

The new distillery will host tours, exhibits, bourbon-making demonstrations and a tasting room; it will also allow for a doubling of Old Forester production.

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