BARDSTOWN, Ky. (Dec. 20, 2017) – The Kentucky Distillers’ Association today announced that the Bardstown Bourbon Company has advanced in its ranks, becoming a “Proof” level member in the non-profit trade group that unites and leads the state’s Bourbon and distilled spirits industry.
“Proof” members are the second-highest tier in the group, following an organizational structure based on production and aging barrels, according to KDA President Eric Gregory. To qualify as a “Proof” member, distilleries must have at least 10,000 barrels aging in their warehouses.
“We’re honored that Bardstown Bourbon has advanced in membership and will be taking on more of a leadership role in our esteemed association and our legendary industry,” said Ryan Ashley, chair of the KDA’s Board of Directors and COO of Four Roses Bourbon.
“David Mandell and his team have made a tremendous investment in our industry and in the Nelson County community,” Ashley said. “We applaud their commitment and dedication to our time-honored craft and look forward to working with them more in this new role.”
Mandell, CEO and president of Bardstown Bourbon, said the distillery has been able to grow and innovate quickly over the last two years, in part thanks to the KDA’s significant leadership and legislative accomplishments.
“We greatly appreciate the KDA’s unwavering leadership and support for the Bourbon industry,” Mandell said. “We are proud to work side-by-side with their team to continue the upward trajectory of Bourbon and Bourbon tourism in Kentucky.
Founded in 2014, BBCo joined the KDA last year as a Craft-level member soon after they began producing spirits in the fall of 2016. In the course of a year, the company produced more than 10,000 barrels to qualify as Proof member; the next level is Heritage at 25,000 barrels.
The KDA welcomed BBCo as its third Proof level member at the association’s 137th Annual Meeting of Members on Dec. 4 in Lexington. Ashley and Gregory presented Mandell with an engraved barrel head commemorating the new membership level.
The company’s facility and Napa Valley style estate is set on more than 100 acres of active farmland adjacent to the Bluegrass Parkway in Bardstown near exit 25. Through its collaborative distilling program, the company offers customers the opportunity to create custom, authentic Kentucky whiskey products and provides comprehensive barrel financing.
In September, the company announced the expansion of its capacity to allow production of up to six million proof gallons, providing an annual production capability of nearly 100,000 barrels. BBCo anticipates the expansion will be complete by July 2018.
In addition to its Collaborative Distilling Program, BBCo is also developing a destination experience with a unique campus that features an educational experience, integrated visitors center, event space, vintage spirits and whiskey library, bar, and full-scale restaurant.
“We’ve lost count at how many times this distillery has now expanded in its short history,” Gregory said. “It’s exciting to see an innovative company like Bardstown Bourbon advance Kentucky’s signature Bourbon industry.”
Gregory added that the KDA was looking forward to adding BBCo to the world-famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail® once their visitor experience is open, which will likely be in the summer of 2018.
Founded in 1880, the KDA is the state’s voice for Bourbon and spirits issues. There are currently 36 members, the most since the Repeal of Prohibition, and an all-time high of 23 destinations on its popular Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® experiences.
The KDA’s diverse membership produces 90 percent of the world’s Bourbon, from legendary, global brands to emerging micro distilleries that are building the next generation of the timeless craft and strengthening Kentucky’s rightful place as the one, true authentic home for Bourbon.
Kentucky Bourbon is one of the Commonwealth’s most historic and treasured industries, a thriving $8.5 billion economic engine that generates more than 17,800 jobs with an annual payroll topping $800 million and pours $825 million into state and local coffers each year.
There are currently 6.8 million barrels of Bourbon gently aging in Kentucky warehouses – a modern record. Distillers also paid a record $19.2 million this year in barrel taxes that fund critical local programs such as education, public safety and health.
KDA President Gregory congratulated the BBCo team and thanked them for their dedication.
“In its short history, Bardstown Bourbon Company has quickly become a leader in our iconic industry and the Bardstown community,” Gregory said. “We are fortunate to have them as a member and an integral part of our signature industry and its timeless craft.”