Bourbon keeps booming with two new planned distilleries

2 new bourbon distilleries planned for Kentucky

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A corporate giant and a bourbon icon are both upping their games as the bourbon boom continues with no end in sight.

Already the biggest producer of distilled spirits in the world, Diageo announced Thursday that it needs more bourbon.

A $130 million distillery will be built in Marion County to increase output of products, including Bulleit. The operation will bring 30 new jobs.

“The U.S. bourbon category has experienced a resurgence in recent years and, over the next 10 years, the bourbon category is expected to continue growing, both within the U.S. and globally,” a Diageo press release stated. “In fiscal 2018, Diageo’s Bulleit bourbon continued its double-digit growth in the U.S., with organic net sales up 10 percent.”

When the Diageo distillery comes on line, it could be in competition with another distillery planned for Oldham County.

Designs show a modern-looking, environmentally-friendly facility that will be the home of a new company -- J. W. Rutledge Distilling.

“We want to be unique, different, something modern coming out with great bourbons and straight rye whiskeys,” Jim Rutledge said.

The well-known master distiller, formerly of Four Roses, is taking a dive into the crowded bourbon pool with the release of the first of his planned premium J.W. Rutledge brands called Cream of Kentucky Bourbon.

“People around the world have begun to realize there’s another whiskey in the world and it’s not scotch, it’s bourbon," Rutledge said. “Primarily Kentucky Bourbon.”

Cream of Kentucky is a rare find.
Cream of Kentucky is a rare find. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

Rutledge’s strategy begins and ends with quality. Cream of Kentucky, if you can find a bottle, will cost about $150.

Fred Minnick, Editor-in-Chief of Bourbon Plus, described it as “beautiful bourbon and I would firmly put this in my Top 20 of 2018.”

Rutledge’s Cream of Kentucky ships to multiple states, including Kentucky and Indiana, and it is intended to generate a buzz among potential investors.

“This has attracted the attention of very deep-pocketed family offices, companies, hedge funds, etc,” Chuck Morton, President of Whiskey Capital and Rutledge’s partner said. “Not everyone wants to put their dimes into the stock market right now. Why not look at a very viable option where you can tangibly see the product and taste the product?”

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