(Editor’s note: This post was updated at 10:30 a.m. on July 6.)
Insiders are telling Insider Louisville that Michter’s Distillery officials will make their formal announcement today about the New York-based distiller’s new Louisville operations.
A media event is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at the site, the Fort Nelson Building at Eighth and Main streets. Mayor Greg Fischer will be attending, according to sources, and those sources say this project has been kept under wraps for months.
Michter’s Distillery LLC, a division of Chatham Imports, will have a distillery, bottling operation and visitors center, according to insiders with direct knowledge of the project, an investment we’re being told will come in at more than $8 million.
That jibes with a Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority release last month stating Michter’s has been approved for as much as $200,000 in tax incentives under the Kentucky Business Investment program, and up to $180,000 in sales tax rebates in exchange for creating about 10 new jobs.
But the secretive part of this is the renovation of the Fort Nelson Building. The building is now notorious for the March 2009 collapse of a stairwell that nearly killed Downtown Development Corp. executives Alan DeLisle and Patti Clare. Apparently, the building is sound and officials and engineers involved in the project are in the process of getting Planning and Zoning approval for the distillery.
Until this thing, we’d never heard of Michter’s.
Apparently, the brand, at least, dates back to before the American Revolution in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania.
Several bourbon blogs state that Michter’s was the oldest American brand of whiskey before it closed in 1990.
In 2004, the brand was sold, then resurfaced in Bardstown, the center of the bourbon distilling world.
The Michter’s website features a full range of small-batch bourbons, ryes and “American whiskey,” whatever that is.
By the standard of today’s $50-plus small batches such as Booker’s and Basil Hayden brands, Michter’s bourbon is moderately priced, with the 10-year-old small-batch going for $35 per 750-ml bottle online. The single-barrel version sells for about $75.
As for Chatham Imports, the wine and spirits company is the only company we’ve seen that posts little mini-resumes for its execs, including where they went to college. Here’s a sample, because we’re guessing at least of few of them will be here tomorrow. And check out the Louisville connections for Willis Pratt, master distiller:
Joseph J. Magliocco: President, Chatham Imports, Inc.
Education & Prior Experience: Yale College, B.A., Harvard Law School, J.D.
Commandeur de L’Ordre du Bontemps de Medoc et de Graves
Joseph Nardoci: Executive Vice President, Chatham Wine & Spirits Division
Education & Prior Experience: Niagara University
Managing Director, wine & spirits wholesaler
Wine Director, wine & spirits wholesaler
Vincent Arlotta: Director of Finance
Education & Prior Experience: Villanova University, B.S., New York University, Masters
Assistant General Manager, wine & spirits wholesaler
Joanne Goldberg: Chief Financial Officer
Education & Prior Experience: Hunter College, B.A., C.W. Post, C.P.A. Qualification
Partner, accounting firm
Connie Kam: Director of Marketing
Education & Prior Experience: University of California, Berkeley, B.A., Cornell Law School, J.D.
Managing Director, legal search firm
Associate, law firm
John McLaughlin: Vice President – Production, Chatham Wine & Spirits Division
Education & Prior Experience: New York Institute of Technology, B.S., Cornell University Management Development
Schwartz Lab for Brewing Studies
Vice President Production, brewer
Principal & CEO, soda bottler
Willis Pratt: Master Distiller – Michter’s American Whiskey Company
Education & Prior Experience: Southeastern Christian College, University of Louisville
Production & Barrel Selection, distiller
Steve Ziegler: Vice President – Sales, Chatham Wine & Spirits Division
Education & Prior Experience: North Carolina State University, B.S.
National Sales Manager, brewer
Kenny Ng: Regional Director – Fine Wines & Spirits
Education & Prior Experience: Baruch College
Restaurant General Manager
Claudia Orozco: Administration