Buffalo Trace Continues $1.2 Billion Expansion
Buffalo Trace has continued progressing in its $1.2 billion expansion even during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a press announcement today, the distillery has installed four new cookers, four new fermenters, opened a new high speed-bottling hall, and completed construction on three more barrel warehouses in the past year.
Buffalo Trace started cooking corn in four new 22- foot tall cookers added last year, creating 80,000 gallons of cooking capacity, which is more than two and a half times the volume of the old cookers.
Four new fermenters were also added last summer in the 1880s building that formerly housed the larger bottling operation. Each of these 93,000 gallon vats are slightly bigger than the twelve existing fermenters in use since 1933. A new cooling tower, which cools down the grains after they are cooked into mash, was also added.
In addition, a 110,000-square-foot, high-speed bottling facility was completed late last year, located on site near the distribution center, with a price tag of $50 million.
Three new barrel warehouses have been completed in the past year, each holding 58,800 barrels. The construction cost was about $7 million per rickhouse and another $21 million to fill them with barrels. Three more rickhouses are currently in various stages of construction. Also, 15 new barrel warehouses will be built on the 200 acres of land known as the “Whiskey Farm,” purchased adjacent to Buffalo Trace a few years ago.
Also in the works are eight more fermenters, a new dry house, a water treatment facility, a second still house and more barrel warehouses. Another planned bottling facility will allow Buffalo Trace to produce more single barrel and small batch bourbons.
The goal, of course, is to make it easier for consumers to find the allocated products they seek, from Weller to Blanton’s to Eagle Rare to E.H. Taylor.
“Although we’ve been increasing production on all of our bourbons for the past several years, the consumer demand also continues to increase,” Kris Comstock, senior marketing director for Buffalo Trace, said in the news release. “We understand fans are frustrated when they can’t find our brands on liquor store shelves. While we are bottling and shipping record amounts, overall demand outstrips supply, and as a result our brands will continue to remain allocated to ensure every state receives some each month.”
“We promise we are doing everything we can to make more, as evidenced by our progress we’ve made in the past year with our expansion,” Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley said. “But great bourbon does take time to age, and we won’t comprise age, taste, or proof just to fill more bottles. We’re just asking our fans to remain patient as we wait for our stocks to mature.”
Tours of the distillery resumed July 1, and guests are now able to see the expanded Visitor Center at Buffalo Trace, which backs up to the recently completed fermenter expansion and includes additional tasting rooms and more retail space.