Bulleit Distilling distillery and visitor centre in Kentucky, US, was built to produce Daigeo’s Bulleit brand of whiskey.

Construction of the distillery began in 2014 and was completed in 2017, while that of the visitor centre began in May 2018. Its inauguration was held on June 2019.

Daigeo invested $115m for the distillery and $10m for the visitor centre. The distillery and visitor centre is the 17th stop on The Kentucky Bourbon Trail®, which is a road trip-style experience in Louisville, Kentucky. It was established by the Kentucky Distillers’ Association (KDA) for visiting the Bluegrass State’s signature distilleries.

The distillery employs 30 people, while the visitor centre is expected to employ the same number over a period of two years.

Bulleit Distilling distillery details

Bulleit’s distillery and visitor centre are located in Shelbyville, Kentucky, US. It is situated at 3464 Benson Pike, 48km from downtown Louisville and Lexington.

Located on a 121ha campus, Bulleit’s distillery is capable of producing 750,000 9l cases a year. It features four barrel houses with a capacity of 55,000 barrels each and a 52ft still.

It includes a tank farm, a storage system, five storage warehouses and an administration building. The warehouses are planned to be expanded to include up to 15 buildings.

The facility is equipped with the latest technology to conserve and reuse resources, reducing its overall environmental impact. It features Shelby County’s first industrial solar array capable of running all on-site mobile equipment and a bio-pond to act as a natural filtration system for rainwater.

The distillery produces Bulleit Bourbon along with several Diageo bourbon and North American Whiskey brands.

Details of the visitor centre

The Bulleit Distilling visitor centre is built on a 12,000ft² site and has a built-up area of 9,000ft². It features tasting rooms, an auditorium, a cocktail bar and retail outlet.

The visitor centre imparts modern technology to provide a unique tasting experience with olfactory balls, as well as light and soundscape effects. It also provides interactive educational experiences and Bourbon tastings, with focus on Bulleit’s modern whiskey-making process and a visit to the founder Tom Bulleit’s office.

Visitors can design a customised label on a 43in touchscreen drafting table at the centre. The trip across the centre is provided in an eco-friendly bus with graffiti drawn by local artist, Braylyn Stewart.

Bulleit partnered with the Kentucky Propane Education and Resource Council for the use of propane in the buses. It also partnered with non-profit organisation Oceanic Global to receive The Oceanic Standard (TOS) certification by adopting sustainable operating practices and eliminating single-use plastics.

Bulleit Distilling’s product portfolio

Bulleit Bourbon is distilled and aged as per the Bulleit family tradition by using a high rye recipe, which gives a bold and spicy taste. The distillery uses Kentucky limestone-filtered water, which provides the base for the bourbon’s flavour. The bourbon is aged in charred American oak barrels, giving it a smoky tinge.

The drink is a homage to one of Bulleit’s whiskies formed 150 years ago. It derives its flavours from the unique combination of barley malt, rye and corn, with strains of yeast, in pure Kentucky limestone-filtered water.

Bulleit Rye is a straight rye whiskey released in 2011, while the Bourbon 10 Year Old is matured and aged in charred American white oak barrels for ten years. The bourbon is deep russet in colour with a rich oaky scent.

“The Bulleit Distilling visitor centre is built on a 12,000ft² site and has a built-up area of 9,000ft². It features tasting rooms, an auditorium, a cocktail bar and retail outlet.”

The Bulleit Barrel Strength Frontier Whiskey is a barrel strength version of Bulleit introduced in 2016.

Contractors involved

Whiting-Turner acted as the general contractor for the construction of the distillery, while Woodbine was the general subcontractor.

Vendome Copper and Brass Works crafted the still for the distillery, while Irving Materials supplied the concrete. Other contractors involved in the construction of the distillery were East & Westbrook Construction, KCI Construction and Fricke Management.

EOP Architects was contracted for designing the visitor centre, while Matthew Carter Interiors designed the interiors.

OLG Engineering undertook the electrical design, fire protection and mechanical and plumbing works of the visitor centre, while OLG Services was involved in the construction works.

DF Chase worked as the general contractor, while Land Design & Development undertook the civil works for the visitor centre.

Sonos designed the light and soundscape. Worn & Co will provide apparel for the staff and sell goods at the retail shop of the visitor centre.