Woodford Reserve expanding to tune of $35 million

Woodford Reserve distillery (Bill Dowd photo)
Bourbon is such a huge seller in the U.S. that distillers are raking in the cash. But, is the market becoming saturated, given all the craft distilleries that have jumped on the bandwagon?

The folks at Brown-Forman Corp. don’t think so. They announced on Thursday they plan to boost bourbon production at the Woodford Reserve Distillery, where an expansion topping $35 million will add stills, double bottling capacity and increase storage space where the whiskey matures.

The investments at the distillery, located near the village of Versailles in Kentucky’s thoroughbred country, come on the heels of a record 250,000 9-liter cases and a 28% increase in net sales in the fiscal year that ended April 30, according to B-F spokeswoman Elizabeth Conway.

“We believe that strong consumer interest in bourbon will continue, and we’re expanding our production to meet this demand,” she said.

Overall, Kentucky’s bourbon distillers have invested $265 million — the largest expansion since Prohibition ended — in new and expanded production facilities, warehouses where the bourbon ages, visitor centers, bottling lines and other upgrades, according to Eric Gregory, president of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association.

Kentucky is home to 95% of the world’s bourbon production.

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