US firm Beam Suntory will open its new distillery and visitor centre in Kentucky next summer, and will replace the Jim Beam Urban Stillhouse in Louisville with a ‘bigger and better’ experience.
Beam Suntory, producer of brands such as Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark, first revealed plans to open a new site in Clermont, Kentucky, in July 2019. Work is under way on the project, which is expected to open by summer 2021.
The plans are part of a US$60 million investment to bring back the James B Beam Distilling Co in Clermont. The site will produce small batch Bourbons including Booker’s and Baker’s, as well as Legent and Little Book.
The new site will provide an ‘elevated consumer experience’ on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, and ‘showcase an ambition for the future of American whisky with a craft distillery and cutting-edge partnerships’.
“For 225 years, we have been the author of our own destiny and have charted a new course for Bourbon, as industry pioneers of quality, craftsmanship, and innovation,” said Albert Baladi, president and CEO, Beam Suntory.
“We will be excited to reopen our doors in a post-pandemic environment. Our new visitor experience, including the craft distillery, will set us up for success in the next 225 years as we continue to be the definitive voice in Bourbon, both in Kentucky and globally.”
The site will offer ‘one-of-a-kind’ opportunities for consumers to be educated on the ‘Beam way’ of Bourbon making.
“We are so proud of our history and are thrilled to honour it through this new experience to best tell the stories of our family and the craft that we have such immense passion for,” said Freddie Noe, eighth generation Beam distiller.
“We are excited about the future and the impact we can have on the industry, and I can’t wait to give visitors an inside look at how we do things the Beam way, and to also have a hand in educating the next generation, too.”
The ‘immersive’ experience will include the Fred B Noe Craft Distillery, which will be home to small batch Bourbons and ‘next-generation whiskies’. The facility will also explore new fermentation and distillation techniques. The distillery will offer distillation process sessions with Freddie Noe, activities in the blending lab, a tasting bar and a ‘state-of-the-art’ classroom for the James B Beam Institute for Kentucky spirits.
The visitor experience will also include the American Outpost, which will replace the Jim Beam American Stillhouse in Clermont. The original American Outpost was the brand’s first retail experience in 1981 and sold Jim Beam merchandise. The new space will also feature tasting rooms that will offer a ‘more complete experience’ of the Jim Beam range.
Furthermore, the site will include The Kitchen Table, a 5,000-square-foot restaurant that will champion local produce. Inspired by the Noe family kitchen table, the site will offer ‘stunning views’, first-rate food and cocktails.
Alongside the new Clermont site, Beam Suntory will ‘reimagine’ its consumer offering in Louisville, Kentucky. As such, the Jim Beam Urban Stillhouse will close permanently and be replaced with a ‘bigger and better’ experience in a new Louisville location in the future.
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Author: Nicola Carruthers