A rendering of the Bulleit Visitor Center by EOP Architects | Courtesy of Bulleit Distilling Co.

When Bulleit Distilling Co. opened its doors to its new 300-acre, $115 million distillery in Shelbyville in March of 2017, there was talk of adding a Visitor Center. But those plans were put off until the Diageo-owned bourbon brand got its facility up and running.

Now, a little over a year later, construction has begun on a new $10 million Visitor Center that should be open and operating in 2019. Bulleit staff, including founder Tom Bulleit, joined community leaders Monday morning to celebrate the groundbreaking on the building designed by local firm EOP Architects.

Currently, the Bulleit tour is based out of the historical Stitzel-Weller Distillery in Shively, which also represents Diageo brands like Blade & Bow and I.W. Harper.

Tom Bulleit | Courtesy of Bulleit Distilling Co.

Diageo will continue to own and operate that distillery/tour experience, and once Bulleit transitions out, it’ll focus more on those other brands.

“It’s a thrill to realize that people from around the globe will soon have the opportunity to visit the distillery and learn about Bulleit’s heritage,” said Tom Bulleit in a news release after Monday’s event. “I speak for every distillery team member when I say how exciting it will be to open our doors and allow our consumers to be part of the Bulleit Frontier Whiskey experience.” 

The nearly 12,000-square-foot Visitor Center will include a tour, tastings, interactive experiences and retail space. It’ll also feature state-of-the-art technology and highlight the distillery’s commitment to being environmentally conscious.

It will employ about 30 full- and part-time staff within two years of its opening.

“Since arriving in Shelby County, Bulleit has been an outstanding community partner,” said Dan Ison, Shelby County Judge-Executive, in the news release. “In addition to the jobs that will be created at the new Visitor Center, the entire county will benefit from tourists who spend their time and entertainment dollars in the area. Many of them won’t just fall in love with the distillery, they’ll also fall in love with all that Shelby County has to offer.” 

Another rendering of the Visitor Center | Courtesy of Bulleit Distilling Co.

Bulleit’s Visitor Center will be the second distillery experience to open in Shelby County, the first being Jeptha Creed in 2016. It joins the cluster of distilleries that are located off I-64 toward Lexington, which include Four Roses, Buffalo Trace, Castle & Key, Wild Turkey and Woodford Reserve.

This post has been updated with the name of the design firm, EOP Architects.

Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville. She's known around town as the Bar Belle and updates her blog (barbelleblog.com) daily. She's a former editor of LEO Weekly and has written for Playboy and The Alcohol Professor. Havens is the author of two books: "The Bar Belle" and "The Bar Belle Vol. 2."


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