Growth Needed as Buffalo Trace Provides 4TH Annual Bourbon Supply Update
FRANKFORT, FRANKLIN COUNTY, KY (May 19, 2016) Buffalo Trace Distillery is happy to be a part of bourbon’s continued rise in popularity, but this National Historic Landmark Distillery has been struggling to keep up with demand, and has made several expansions, with more planned, in response to the bourbon boom.
A significant capital investment of more than $200 million to expand the distilling operations will take place over the next seven years, including new investments in cooking, fermenting, bottling, land, and additional barrel warehouses.
Two additional barrel warehouses have already taken shape; recently acquired buildings adjacent to Buffalo Trace Distillery have been converted back to their original purpose as barrel warehouses, called “T” and “U,” which hold 50,000 barrels of bourbon each. “T” is completely full, with “U” expected to be full by June 2016. Next up are two more barrel warehouses to be filled in the next 12 months, “R” and “S,” which will hold an additional 100,000 aging barrels total. The buildings had been sold off in the 1980s and used as office buildings after the collapse of the bourbon industry in the late 1970s. “It is very gratifying to see the buildings once again being used for their original purpose,” commented Mark Brown, president of Buffalo Trace Distillery.
Warehouses “N,” “O,” and “P” are also being converted back to barrel aging warehouses, now that construction is complete on the Distillery’s new distribution center, which opened last summer. Those warehouses had been used to store finished goods for many years. Now with the new distribution center, those warehouses can be filled with new bourbon barrels. Each floor in those warehouses will hold 10,000 barrels.
In addition, Buffalo Trace Distillery will begin building new barrel warehouses in 2017 on the additional 200 acres of farmland it purchased a few years ago. A total of 30 warehouses are planned, with one new warehouse being built every five months for the next 10 years if everything goes according to plan.
All of this is in an effort to respond to the growing demand for bourbon. As far as the current inventory of bourbon at Buffalo Trace Distillery mature enough to bottle, things are marginally better than they were three years ago. “We’re still looking at shortages across the board for all of brands, and although the volumes are increasing, allocations will continue,” said Kris Comstock, distillery spokesperson.
Unlike most distilleries, Buffalo Trace began allocating its bourbons every month across the United States to ensure each state receives some bourbon monthly. “We spread what we have around as best we can. In many instances, we are literally waiting for barrels to come of age since we aren’t willing to compromise on quality and taste,” added Comstock.
There will be more Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare, Blanton’s, and E.H. Taylor, Jr. this year. Volumes of Elmer T. Lee, Stagg Jr, and W.L. Weller bourbons will remain about the same. Hopefully barrels of George T. Stagg and Van Winkle bourbon will yield a bit more this fall than last autumn.
Buffalo Trace Distillery would like to stress that while the bourbon shortages are prevalent in all of their brands, they speak only for themselves, not for the entire bourbon industry. “This is not some marketing tactic to scare consumers to buy more, or something we are making up. We wish we had distilled more years ago. The shortage is a real problem,” added Comstock. “We get requests for more daily. Believe me, I wish we had more to sell too!”
Due to the shortages of Buffalo Trace’s products, rumors abound. Most of these rumors have been addressed before, but still many persist, such as:
- Elmer T. Lee or Weller 12 Bourbons are going away. False. Both of these brands are not going anywhere. Elmer T. Lee did not take the secret mashbill to his grave, it is not becoming part of the Antique Collection, and there is no lawsuit with his heirs over the brand. What is true is that both brands have become more popular over the years, making them harder to find, but there are no plans to discontinue either brand.
- Eagle Rare Bourbon 10 Year Old age statement is going away. False. The age statement remains on the back of the bottle and there are no plans to remove it. Due to increased production and bottling equipment limitations, the neck wrap has simply been eliminated from the packaging and the age statement was moved to the back of the bottle.
- Other age statements on brands going away. False. There are no plans to remove any age statements from any brands produced at Buffalo Trace Distillery.
- The reason you can’t find various Buffalo Trace bourbons in stores is because they are shipping it all to China and Japan. False. While a very modest amount is sent overseas, the overwhelming majority is sold in the United States.
So while the good news is Buffalo Trace is planning full steam ahead for the future, and there will be marginally more bourbon this year than before; the bad news is that allocations will continue, with no foreseeable end in sight. Buffalo Trace Distillery would like to thank its customers for their continued support of its whiskeys, they are doing their best to catch up to demand as quickly as they can, but time and Mother Nature cannot be rushed!
About Buffalo Trace Distillery
Buffalo Trace Distillery is an American family-owned company based in Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky. The Distillery’s rich tradition dates back to 1786 and includes such legends as E.H. Taylor, Jr., George T. Stagg, Albert B. Blanton, Orville Schupp, and Elmer T. Lee. Buffalo Trace Distillery is a fully operational Distillery producing bourbon, rye and vodka on site and is a National Historic Landmark as well as is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Distillery has won seven distillery titles since 2000 from such notable publications as Whisky Magazine, Whisky Advocate Magazine and Wine Enthusiast Magazine. It was named Whisky Magazine 2010 World Icons of Whisky “Whisky Visitor Attraction of the Year.” Buffalo Trace Distillery has also garnered more than 200 awards for its wide range of premium whiskies. To learn more about Buffalo Trace Distillery visit www.buffalotracedistillery.com. To download images from Buffalo Trace Distillery visit http://www.buffalotracedistillery.com/media