LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - KY Bourbon Affair promised an all-access pass to the spirits and the masters behind them, including a trip inside one of Kentucky's historic distillery open only to insiders.
The Stitzel-Weller facility on Fitzgerald Road, home of Bulleit bourbon, is made up of more than 100 buildings spanning 54 acres. It was built primarily to "present the industry," distiller Tom Bulleit said.
Stitzel-Weller hasn't distilled bourbon or rye here for 22 years, and there's a question whether it ever will again. Bulleit and Diageo say it's not critical, though, to making this work.
The facility houses more than 300,000 aging barrels of bourbon and rye – Bulleit's and other brands – and a large archive featuring the history America's only native spirit.
Formerly a lawyer, Bulleit has hosted a number of events here for industry insiders as goodwill ambassador for his now-parent company Diageo. This first public tour showed off what three months and Diageo's almost $3 million delivered.
Jason Brown and wife Julie, who took the VIP tour, said it was well worth $175 apiece. "When we did his party, we almost had a cattle call in a few of the places, and that wasn't as intimate of a feel. This is different. I like that," Julie said.
Plans are to have Stitzel-Weller facility fully open for public tours by next Derby Day – the 80th anniversary of its founding.
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730 North Summit Street