Brown-Forman to Build Old Forester Distillery on Whiskey Row

Company Returns To Its Historic Roots on Main Street

Louisville, KY, September 25, 2014 – Brown-Forman Corporation today announced that it will open a distillery and bourbon experience for its founding brand, Old Forester, in two historic buildings on West Main Street in Louisville, Kentucky. Brown-Forman expects to open the Old Forester Distillery in the fall of 2016, building on the company’s strong bourbon whiskey heritage by creating a world-class distilling operation and visitor destination that showcases the craftsmanship and authenticity of Old Forester, the first bottled bourbon. The company anticipates investing approximately $30 million in this project.

“George Garvin Brown introduced Old Forester, America’s first bottled bourbon, more than 140 years ago, which changed our industry and the Louisville community forever,” said Paul Varga, CEO of Brown-Forman Corporation. “As demand for high quality bourbon continues to increase, the Old Forester Distillery will enable us to expand capacity so that we can further showcase one of the greatest tasting and most historic bourbons.  We believe this will enrich Kentucky, the home of bourbon, and Louisville, the historic home of Brown-Forman and the Brown family.”


Old Forester is Brown-Forman’s founding brand, founded in 1870 by George Garvin Brown. Brown believed Old Forester was so pure and consistent that he sealed it, signed it, and pledged “There is nothing better in the market.” The Old Forester Distillery will celebrate Brown’s innovative spirit and his commitment to making the highest quality bourbon.

The Old Forester Distillery will include fermentation, distilling, barrel making, filling and dumping, and bottling. The new distillery will allow the company to double its current production of Old Forester.

The historic properties at 117 and 119 West Main Street, where the Old Forester Distillery will be located, were built around 1857 and used for warehousing barrels of whiskey produced at numerous distilleries in the area. At least 19 distillers, wholesalers, and other whiskey-related businesses called this block of West Main Street home.

By the mid-1870s, this stretch of West Main Street was known as “Whiskey Row.”

“Between 1900 and 1919, Brown-Forman occupied 117 West Main Street on Louisville’s Whiskey Row. We’re returning to our roots with this distillery, just another wonderful example of Brown-Forman’s commitment to historic preservation and downtown development in Louisville,” said Geo. Garvin Brown IV, a 5th generation descendant of the company’s founder and the company’s current board chairman.

With the purchase of these two buildings, Brown-Forman owns five buildings on Louisville’s revitalized Main Street.  Brown-Forman will potentially receive a total of $1.3M in various Kentucky tax incentives. The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) has preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $900,000 through the Kentucky Business Investment (KBI) program. KEDFA also approved Brown-Forman for tax benefits of $400,000 through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA).

For more than 140 years, Brown-Forman Corporation has enriched the experience of life by responsibly building fine quality beverage alcohol brands, including Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, Southern Comfort, Finlandia, Jack Daniel’s & Cola, Canadian Mist, Korbel, Gentleman Jack, el Jimador, Herradura, Sonoma-Cutrer, Chambord, New Mix, Tuaca, and Woodford Reserve.  Brown-Forman’s brands are supported by nearly 4,200 employees and sold in approximately 160 countries worldwide.  For more information about the company, please visit