A news release containing highly anticipated images of both the outside and inside of the building — as well as a modern bar area — was sent out Tuesday morning, with the announcement that tours will begin on Saturday, Feb. 2. Those can now be booked through the company’s website for $20.
The 20,000-square-foot distillery is located across Main Street from the Louisville Slugger Museum and just a few doors down from the Frazier History Museum, which now serves as the official starting point of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. The historic Fort Nelson building was constructed in 1890 and was in pretty bad shape when Michter’s purchased it in 2012 — in fact, it was actually leaning out into the street.
“It’s only fitting that a once-abandoned, great American brand found its home in a once-abandoned, great American building,” Michter’s President Joseph J. Magliocco said in a news release. “The Fort Nelson Building is an architectural gem, and our team is so fortunate to have had the opportunity to bring it back to life and make it a special place for everyone to visit.”
Rehabilitating the building cost millions of dollars, 400,000 pounds of structural steel and seven long years, all the while other bourbon brands opened their own distilleries in the vicinity and Whiskey Row was resurrected to reflect its former heyday.
The distillery will feature tours, tastings and a gift shop, and it’ll be producing whiskey on historic equipment salvaged from Michter’s old Pennsylvania distillery. The pot still and cypress wood fermenter can be traced back to 1753.
“These stills will once again produce some incredibly special whiskey,” Michter’s Master of Maturation Andrea Wilson said in the release. “Our distiller, Dan McKee, Distillery Manager Matt Bell and our team have done a spectacular job of getting this fantastic equipment working again.”
The second floor will feature The Bar at Fort Nelson, which was designed with help from cocktail historian and author David Wondrich. It’ll be led by bartender Sevan Araneda, former general manager of San Francisco’s Bourbon & Branch, and bar manager Dante Wheat, formerly of Butchertown Social.
We haven’t seen a cocktail menu yet, but some of the photos in the media kit feature standards like the Old Fashioned and Rye Manhattan and one-of-a-kind concoctions with names like Fort Nelson Crusta, Springfield Punch and American Idle.
Below are more photos from the distillery, and Insider will be sure to share our own once we can get through those doors.