Lexington will join the official Kentucky Bourbon Trail with the opening of Alltech's downtown distillery next month. To help open the facility, it will partner with University of Kentucky coach John Calipari on a limited-edition bourbon.
The $6 million distillery, the first new distillery in Lexington in 100 years, will start producing bourbon next month and open for tours Oct. 1, according to Alltech.
Eventually, it will produce about 60,000 cases of Town Branch Bourbon a year, said Alltech founder Pearse Lyons.
A warehouse at the Cross Street distillery will be stocked for tours, but most of the bourbon actually will be aged in Bardstown, Lyons said.
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The Kentucky Bourbon Trail will comprise seven distilleries: Alltech in Lexington, Four Roses and Wild Turkey in Lawrenceburg, Heaven Hill in Bardstown, Jim Beam in Clermont, Maker's Mark in Loretto, and Woodford Reserve in Versailles.
"We're honored that Town Branch is joining our prestigious tour of distilleries. We're thrilled to add Lexington as a host community to greet thousands of visitors to our trademark attraction," said Jeff Condor, chairman of the Kentucky Distillers' Association and vice president of Beam Inc.
Alltech was the first craft distillery to join the association, which created the Kentucky Bourbon Trail in 1999.
The trail attracts thousands of tourists every year, many of whom get passports stamped at each stop.
On Thursday, Lyons officially stamped the first passport with the Town Branch logo.
"To come here and actually live your dream ... now, I don't stand in front of you as an alcoholic, but it is rather special to have your own distillery. It's even more special to have the first one in over 100 years in Lexington," Lyons said Thursday. "We are so proud to be associated with some of these great distilleries."
To kick off the distillery opening next month, Lyons announced Town Branch would offer a limited-edition "Title Town" Town Branch Bourbon, with a blue label commemorating the UK men's basketball team's 2012 NCAA championship.
Only 2,500 bottles will be sold — price and selling location to be announced soon — but Lyons said Calipari would come to the distillery to sign them in late September, either on the 27th or 28th.
As he led visitors through his new facility, still under construction, Lyons showed off the two large copper pots, which he hopes will one day use water from Lexington's Town Branch in his bourbon. He also pointed to the new weather vane atop the distillery: a miniature copper still pot, pointing the way to bourbon, he said.