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Sazerac to invest $1.2bn in Buffalo Trace Distillery

DBR Staff Writer Published 14 June 2018

Sazerac is investing $1.2bn at its Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky over the next ten years to increase the production of American Bourbon whiskey.

At Buffalo Trace, two more barrels are ‘coming of age’ over the next 12 months and more bottles will be available this year.

The distillery will also produce more bottles of Eagle Rare, WL Weller, EH Taylor Jr, and Blanton’s Single Barrel this year.

The distillery also plans to bottle whiskies including Van Winkle, George T. Stagg, Elmer T. Lee and Sazerac Rye as barrels mature, but little growth is expected on these brands.

The company is planning to build a new warehouse every four months over the next several years to meet the demand. Already, two new warehouses have been completed, with third and fourth distilleries being planned.

Each of the warehouses is expected to store about 58,000 barrels of whiskey. For building each warehouse, the company has invested $7.5m, while the cost of filling the barrels is $21m.

The company said that each of the warehouses has been insulated to protect from cold weathers.

The distillery will also be replacing its boilers and preparing for a new cooling tower next year. Four new cookers are expected to be installed at the site, which will be twice the size of the existing cookers. Besides this, fermenting tanks with 92,000 gallon capacity are also expected to be installed at the distillery.

Buffalo Trace Distillery master distiller Harlen Wheatley said: “When I started with the company in 1995, we filled 12,000 barrels a year.

"Today the growth seems moderate, but when you think about how far we’ve come, it’s actually phenomenal, considering when we’re on track to produce 200,000 barrels this year.”

With whiskey production expanding, the company is expected to displace the main bottling operation at Buffalo Trace. It is building a new bottling hall at $50m, which is expected to improve efficiency, flexibility and overall quality.

Image: Sazerac-owned Buffalo Trace Distillery to expand production in the coming years. Photo: Courtesy of Dominic Morel/FreeImages.com