[Lexington, Ky.] – The burbling Town Branch waterway once enticed numerous Lexington distillery operations to set up along the course of its stream downtown. The Old Pepper Distillery was the lone survivor of Prohibition but ended distilling operations in the late ‘60s, leaving Lexington without an operational distillery for more than 40 years.
With the snip of a ribbon, however, the course of bourbon history changed Thursday as Alltech opened its $9.2 million distillery, the first to be built in Lexington in more than 100 years. Located next to the company’s brewery at the corner of Maxwell and Cross Streets, it is believed to be one of only a few sites in the world with both a distillery and brewery.
Built with Kentucky limestone and featuring glass walls on three sides to showcase its centerpiece cooper stills, the 20,000-s.f. facility will be the production site for Alltech’s Town Branch™ Bourbon, Pearse Lyons Reserve™ malt whiskey and bourbon-infused coffee drink, Bluegrass Sundown™.
Economic anticipation was heightened last month when the distillery became the seventh member of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®. Alltech’s membership has moved the famed tourism adventure into the heart of downtown Lexington, much to the delight of city and tourism officials who are eager to welcome the nearly half-million visitors from all 50 states and more than 50 countries who took part in the tour in 2011.
“We already take great pride in how our brewery has contributed to revitalization in downtown Lexington,” said Dr. Pearse Lyons, founder and president of Alltech. “Our new distillery will now draw tourists directly into the heart of the Bluegrass, and we have high expectations for how this may economically impact our city, particularly given our location just a few blocks from Rupp Arena. Without ever leaving the vicinity of Lexington, guests can now celebrate the quintessential Kentucky weekend: basketball, bourbon and even Bourbon Barrel Ale.”
Lyons continued, “Bourbon has traditionally been a rural attraction, yet many of our legendary distilleries draw upwards of 100,000 visitors a year. That’s because bourbon is no longer just a drink – it’s an experience, a lifestyle and a part of our culture. Just imagine the potential for Lexington now with this new, centrally located distillery.”
The distillery officially opens to the public on Oct. 1. Public tours will be available seven days a week. For details, visit kentuckyale.com.