Marking a milestone of growth, Buffalo Trace Distillery this week rolled out its seven millionth barrel produced since Prohibition. It also held an official dedication for the first warehouse built on its farm.
Tour guide and third-generation employee Freddie Johnson had the honor of carrying on his father’s legacy by rolling the seven millionth barrel into Warehouse V, with help from his grandson. Johnson’s late father Jimmy Johnson, a former warehouse supervisor, had rolled out each millionth barrel produced at Buffalo Trace since Prohibition.
Warehouse V, the world’s smallest bonded warehouse, which was constructed specifically to house each millionth barrel produced at the Distillery following Prohibition. Up until Wednesday, Warehouse V held the six millionth barrel, which Jimmy Johnson had rolled out at age 92 on May 14, 2008.
A private audience made up mostly of employees witnessed the milestone, and Distillery President and CEO Mark Brown spoke briefly.
That same day, the Distillery also officially dedicated the first warehouse, Warehouse AA, built on its farm. Warehouse AA is the first of 30 new warehouses to be built on the Distillery’s farm over the next 10 years, each of which will hold 68,800 barrels.
This expansion of warehouse capacity marks another milestone of growth at the National Historic Landmark Distillery and is part of the first large scale structural expansion at the Distillery’s campus since the 1950s.
The distillery is moving along with plans to build a new warehouse on the farm every four months. Warehouse AA is now complete and nearly full with barrels, construction of Warehouse BB is already nearly complete, the foundation for Warehouse CC has been poured and the first ricks are taking shape, and the ground has been prepared for Warehouse DD.
It took nearly 10 years for Buffalo Trace to replace its six millionth barrel with its seven millionth barrel, but the distillery team is anticipating a much shorter turnaround for the eight millionth barrel as the distillery is able to expand bourbon production and roll more and more barrels into the warehouses on the farm.
The distillery plans to bottle the bourbon from the six millionth barrel this summer and offer 375-ml. bottles of the bourbon to charities for fundraising efforts.
Information about how to apply for a bottle will be announced at that time.