Posts tagged with "Distilleries":

Placeholder Alt Text

Heaven Hill is the latest bourbon brand to expand its architectural appeal

Building for bourbon brands is all about storytelling. Over the two decades, some of the world’s top distillers have completed multimillion-dollar architectural projects and exhibitions in an effort to communicate the past, present, and future of whiskey culture through their own distinct stories. Since bourbon is one of Kentucky’s biggest tourist attractions, it’s no surprise that brands are turning to seasoned architects and designers to elevate their physical presence and style. Heaven Hill, the largest independent family-owned producer of distilled spirits in the United States, just announced a $65 million operations expansion that includes renovating its Bardstown, Kentucky, headquarters. Led by Louisville-based experience design firm Solid Light, the project will completely renovate the brand’s 14-year-old Bourbon Heritage Center and add 22,300-square-feet of space to the site along the famed Kentucky Bourbon Trail.    According to Solid Light President Cynthia Torp, Heaven Hill’s goal is to expand guests’ knowledge of the brand’s 83-year history, including the story of the Shapira family that owns the company. The brand also want to provide an immersive, hands-on experience with bourbon that can’t be found anywhere else in the state. “Our philosophy is that we want to connect visitors emotionally with the story of the brand,” Torp said. “Many people who visit the Bourbon Trail are looking to explore the details behind these brands, which is part of the whole mystique behind it. So we’re offering a bourbon education specifically through design.” The $17.5 million visitor center expansion is the latest project Solid Light has undertaken with Heaven Hill. In 2000, the firm helped design and build the structure, which it will now supplement with a brand new rooftop bar, enhanced tasting rooms, retail space, and the “You Do Bourbon” experience where guests will get to bottle their own bourbon. The full-service design and planning firm also completed the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience for Heaven Hill in downtown Louisville, one of the company’s flagship labels. Among its other well-known labels are Elijah Craig, Henry McKenna, Larceny, and Old Fitzgerald.   Christopher Quirk, Solid Light’s director of architecture, explained how this project is unlike some of the firm’s other commissions; they designed the Kentucky Derby Museum as well as the Sagamore Spirit Distillery Experience for Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank in Baltimore. He said that, normally, Solid Light is asked to work within the confines of an existing museum space, but due to a devastating fire that destroyed most of the brand’s plant in 1996, Heaven Hill wanted to reestablish its identity through a new structure built for 21st-century bourbon enthusiasts. “The architecture of the new building is an homage to the heritage of the site,” Quirk said. “The mashup between the older structure and the more modern one is an expression of Heaven Hill’s desire to mark on the future.” Further details behind the expanded structure have not yet been released as Solid Light is still in the schematic design phase of planning and aims to announce more information at a later date. Renovation work will begin on the existing site in January and is expected to be done in the middle of the summer. With this news, Heaven Hill joins a list of other Kentucky-based bourbon distillers that have recently completed or are currently renovating their facilities. Kentucky Owl just announced plans to create a 420-acre campus in Bardstown, designed by Shigeru Ban Architects, while Rabbit Hole just opened up a striking, metal-clad building in Louisville last May, dreamt up by pod a+d. In 2017, Bulleit Distilling Co. completed its headquarters in Shelbyville, Kentucky, while Wild Turkey opened an award-winning visitors center in 2014, designed by Louisville-based De Leon & Primmer Architecture Workshop. Quirk noted that part of the Kentucky bourbon industry’s appeal as a big business is the successful promotion of not only its products but the experiences each brand offers customers at these various locations. “If you go to one visitors center and learn about the history behind one dynamic brand, you’re likely to drive down the road to another local brand to see how they’re different,” Quirk said. “There’s value in showcasing their individual identities and bringing people closer to their products. All have very unique stories to tell.”
Placeholder Alt Text

Bulleit opens new Kentucky distillery campus

Bulleit Distilling Co., maker of Bulleit whiskey, celebrated its 30th anniversary in a big way with the opening of a completely new distillery (and probably a few sips of its amber-colored product). While Bulleit is now owned by London-based Diageo PLC, the grand opening of the new facility also coincides with founder Tom Bulleit’s birthday.

Set on 300 acres outside Shelbyville, Kentucky, the new distillery leverages the latest in warehousing and distilling processes to reduce its impact on the environment. Included in the new facility is the first industrial solar array in the area. The solar array is able to collect enough energy to run all the distillery’s on-site mobile equipment. An overall modular design also means that the layout was able to be carried out with as little tree clearing as possible. The land planning, civil engineering, surveying, and landscape architecture were all carried out by Louisville-based Land Design & Development (LD&D). LD&D was also the local planning consultant.

Until the completion of the new distillery, Bulleit Bourbon was distilled at another company’s facility. Now able to produce 1.8 million proof gallons of whiskey per year in house, Bulleit has greatly improved control over its own distilling process. The company can now more easily explore the production of other lines of whiskey as well. At the heart of the operation is a 52-foot still, designed and built by Louisville-based Vendome Copper & Brass Works. Four barrel houses on the campus are able to hold 55,000 barrels for aging.

“Seeing this distillery come to life has been a truly surreal experience that couldn’t have been achieved without the tireless work of so many men and women,” said Tom Bulleit at the opening. Yet the story of Bulleit is just as surreal. According to Tom Bulleit, the first Bulleit Bourbon was made by his great-great-grandfather, Augustus Bulleit, in pre-Civil War Kentucky. The legend goes that after loading up a boat with barrels of bourbon and heading off to New Orleans in 1860, Augustus was never seen again. 

While the $115 million project is not yet open to the public, guests can visit the new Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Experience in the company’s original Louisville, Kentucky, distillery as they work their way down the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

Placeholder Alt Text

Archtober Building of the Day #24> Kings County Distillery at the Brooklyn Navy Yard

Archtober Building of the Day #24 Kings County Distillery 63 Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn Kushner Studios Three days of Archtober rain have finally given way to a chilly day washed clear—perfect weather for an adventure to the Brooklyn Navy Yard. A crowd of Archtober faithful was on hand (despite the conspicuous post-Heritage Ball hangover of the author) for a hair of the dog moment with Master Distiller Colin Spoelman and architect John Bedard at the Kings County Distillery. The building, solid brick and well detailed in 1899, originally served as the Navy Paymaster Office. The Navy left the yard in 1966, and the structure joined the many others awaiting new and viable economic use. After a brief stint as a Jewish funeral shroud manufacturing facility, it was rescued by the hipster distillers now making their way in the world of craft booze. Spoelman gave a lively history of the neighborhood which was the historic home to many distillers. We heard stories of the Whiskey Wars of Brooklyn, tax evasion, gangs, crooks, and the heavy hand of the revenue men. We also learned how whiskey is made, and enjoyed, to the extent possible, the strong odor of the process. Vats of yellow corn goo in the process of fermentation, were in big, open wood tanks. Inquisitive insects lazily sipped from the open containers. Huge one-ton sacks of corn were piled up along one side of the still room. The copper-pot still itself was a voluptuous decanter, piped and valved, with a final trickle of clear moonshine issuing forth into a waiting vessel. Upstairs are the Boozeum and the Barrel Room. Apparently the Barrel Room can be rented as a wedding venue (I wonder what they do about the smell). The whole enterprise seems to be a mirror of hipster chic: locavore, sustainable, micro-business, full of fantastic arcana, and ever so retrospective. Our crowd huddled in for tasting of three liquors. I abstained, but others reported sophisticated flavor, smooth finish, and a nice woody middle.
Cynthia Phifer Kracauer, AIA, is the Managing Director of the Center for Architecture and the festival director for Archtober:  Architecture and Design Month NYC.  She was previously a partner at Butler Rogers Baskett, and from 1989-2005 at Swanke Hayden Connell.  After graduating from Princeton (AB 1975, M.Arch 1979) she worked for Philip Johnson,  held faculty appointments at the University of Virginia, NJIT, and her alma mater.
Placeholder Alt Text

Heatherwick Studio’s Plan for Bombay Sapphire Distillery Are Wildly Green

Bombay Sapphire is in the process of converting a historic paper mill into a facility for producing their famous gin. Overseeing this transformation is the ever-busy Heatherwick Studio, which has been brought on to renovate the 40 derelict buildings found on the site. Their most drastic intervention to the extant campus comes in the form of a soon-to-opened visitor's center that was recently awarded a BREEAM 'outstanding' rating for sustainability, an international system for ranking green buildings. The building is composed of the original structure and two new large glass outgrowths that are seemingly blown out of its interior and into a surrounding body of water. These alien forms are, in fact, drawn from the shapes of the curvaceous copper stills traditionally employed in gin distillation. One temperate, the other humid, the two greenhouses are populated by the various botanicals incorporated into gin production. The glass additions sit partially in the shallows of the River Test that snakes through the entirety of the mill. Integrated photovoltaic cells, a biomass boiler for recycling organic matter, and energy-producing water turbines all contribute to the center's elevated BREEAM status. The watery foundations of the greenhouses are indicative of Heatherwick's attempts to emphasize the role of the river in their refurbishment of the site. The firm hopes to increase the Test's visibility while using it as an organizational device for traversing the numerous buildings in the facility.