Old Forester lays claim to being our country’s first bottled bourbon. Today, the label begins tours at its just opened distillery and visitor’s center. Housed in a Main Street, Louisville building it had once inhabited nearly 100 years ago, the attraction is located along the city’s Whiskey Row, home to a number of distilleries through the ages. The 70,000-square-foot facility’s debut adds an eleventh stop on Kentucky’s famed Bourbon Trail.
Old Forester Distilling Co., as it shall be known, will not only produce about 100,000 proof gallons each year, but also give visitors a look into a working, state-of-the-art distillery, educating them on the bourbon-making process and the brand’s considerable 148-year-old history.
In addition to following the ins and outs of fermentation and copper column still distillation, guests will get a peek into a rare, working cooperage where new, handmade barrels get raised and charred before being filled. A charred wood hallway will help visitors understand the changes in tone, flavor and aroma that whiskey assumes when aging. Then next comes the maturation warehouse where one can survey the three-story warehouse from the highest rack and take a bird’s eye view photo. Last comes the tasting room. Yay.
Tours happen seven days a week at $16, with tastings. The opening joins Downtown Louisville’s Bourbon District development, which seeks to boost visitors and highlight whiskey distilleries, with a current focus on Whiskey Row.