Michter's Distillery, which is building two multimillion-dollar distilleries in Louisville, announced Thursday that it has joined the Kentucky Distillers' Association, the industry's 133-year-old trade and lobbying organization.
Michter's becomes the KDA's 17th member and its first at the "proof" level. That mid-level category is for established licensed distilleries that maintain an inventory of 10,000 to 25,000 barrels of Kentucky distilled beverage spirits. "Proof" categorization falls between the small "craft" level for small operations and the "heritage" label for major distillers.
The move comes as Kentucky's bourbon industry is seeing a boom in expansion. More than $300 million in new production capacity, warehouses and tourism centers have been announced in recent years, with new craft distilleries popping up in the state almost monthly.
"We are truly impressed with the investment Michter's is making in Kentucky, especially their new facility in Shively and innovative plans for downtown Louisville," said Rick Robinson, the KDA chairman and the plant manager at Wild Turkey in Lawrenceburg. "They're a well-established company with a venerable brand and visionary leadership. We are excited that they chose the Bluegrass as their home, and we proudly welcome them to the Kentucky Distillers' Association."
The Michter's brand, historically associated with a Pennsylvania distillery, was resurrected in the 1990s and moved to Kentucky.
"If you really want to be serious about the whiskey business, Kentucky is the place to be," Michter's President Joseph J. Magliocco said.
Michter's is expecting to install stills early next year at its $10.9 million distilling and bottling plant in Shively, a western suburb of Louisville, and is restoring the Fort Nelson building on Main Street in Louisville for a distilling and tourism center along the city's Whiskey Row.
As a KDA member, the distillery is eligible to join the popular Kentucky Bourbon Trail tour when its visitor center is open, KDA president Eric Gregory said.
Using whiskey made at another distillery, Michter's sells single-barrel ryes, very small-batch bourbons and premium American whiskeys, including the recently announced Michter's Celebration Sour Mash, a 273-bottle release priced at $4,000 a bottle.
"Our goal has always been to make highest quality, world-class whiskey in the United States," he said. "Kentucky, with its rich history of great distilleries, is the perfect place to pursue that goal."
Gregory said, "The Michter's team isn't just building a distillery — they're putting down significant roots in Kentucky. Just look at the lengths they're going to restore the Fort Nelson building. This is more than an investment to them. They're part of the family and this is their home."
Janet Patton: (859) 231-3264. Twitter: @janetpattonhl.