Local News
5:00 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Maker's Mark Announces $67 Million Expansion

Rick Howlett

Maker’s Mark is announcing plans for a $67 million expansion of its distillery in Loretto, Ky.

The bourbon maker says it will expand operations with an exact replica of its two existing stills, boosting production by 50 percent.

Construction of  a new still is expected to take about 18 months to complete.   Maker’s Mark will also build a series of warehouses over the next seven years for aging the increased volume of bourbon.

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Food & Drink Week
10:00 am
Wed November 27, 2013

An Oral History of Bourbon in Louisville

Bourbon is America's native spirit. Federal law says so. But for people in Louisville, bourbon is even closer, sentimentally and literally. The city developed quickly through the growth of the bourbon industry, and the current downtown resurgence depends largely on spirit's continued popularity.

But it's been a twisted path from the first batch's debut and the latest distillery ribbon cutting. It's a story of taxes, Prohibitions, power and capitalism.

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Food & Drink Week
7:30 am
Wed November 27, 2013

Is Kentucky Limestone Water Indispensible for Bourbon?

The spring at Maker's Mark that originally provided water for the distillery's bourbon.
Erica Peterson WFPL

Water is an essential ingredient in bourbon. And many local distillers have long said the commonwealth’s unique limestone water distinguishes Kentucky bourbon from competitors. But how important is it really?

To legally be called bourbon, the spirit has to be made of mostly corn. It has to be aged in new charred-oak barrels. And it has to be made in the United States. There's no rule that dictates what type of water is used, but many local distillers say no matter what the law says, bourbon isn't bourbon unless it's made with limestone water.

It's a stipulation that goes back to the early days of bourbon. University of Kentucky geology professor Alan Fryar says it was easy access to limestone water that played an integral role in launching the bourbon industry here centuries ago.

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Food & Drink Week
11:40 am
Tue November 26, 2013

Non-Kentucky Micro-Distilleries Could Help Define What Comes After Bourbon

Credit kybourbontrail.com

Manager Nick Reifsteck looks at the stash of bourbons at Old Town Wine and Spirits in Louisville; there’s a wall full of brown liquor.

How many bourbons would you say you carry here at Old Town? I ask.

"I don’t know, a couple hundred. I don’t know, I’ve never counted them," he says.

Reifsteck points to only a few from out of state, but says there are more now than ever before.

“A lot of these boutique brands. They don’t even distill or age their own bourbons. They buy from other distillers and they label them however they want," he says.

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4:20 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

Kentucky Bourbon Trail Sets Attendance Mark


For the first time, attendance along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail broke the half-million mark last year.

The 509,000 people who stopped at seven distilleries represent a 15 percent increase over 2011.  Kentucky Bourbon Trail Experience Director Adam Johnson adds many of those visitors ate at local restaurants and slept in nearby hotels.

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9:16 am
Tue September 11, 2012

Air Pollution District Fines Diageo for Whiskey Fungus, Odor

Roger Griffith Wikimedia Commons

Louisville's Air Pollution Control District has sent a Notice of Violation to liquor giant Diageo, alleging the company violated the conditions of its permit.

The violations laid out include several odor complaints near Diageo's whiskey aging warehouse at 2359 Millers Lane. But perhaps more interesting is another violation for the sooty-mold that has been seen on properties near the warehouse.

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10:26 am
Thu August 30, 2012

Whiskey Fungus Lawsuits Attract Attention of New York Times

Whiskey fungus in Scotland.
Roger Griffith Wikimedia Commons

Kentucky's whiskey fungus lawsuits are getting some national attention. The New York Times ran a piece yesterday about the fungus--scientifically called Baudoinia--that's prevalent on the outside of distilleries and homes near them. The lawsuit charges that the fungus germinates on ethanol which is released during fermentation.

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6:00 pm
Wed May 30, 2012

Lawsuit Alleges Damages From "Whiskey Fungus"

The fungus is visible on Heaven Hill's Bardstown distillery
Shadle Wikimedia Commons

A lawsuit filed today in federal court alleges a black substance coating the homes of residents in some areas of Louisville is caused by whiskey distilling.

Attorney Bill McMurray says for years, residents have seen a black substance growing on metal surfaces, and it’s nearly impossible to remove.

“And it’s only recently been understood within the last couple of years what the actual cause for that blackening is, and it’s this particular fungus,” he said.

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