Perhaps best known for Ezra Brooks and Rebel Yell (but readers need to add David Nicholson to that list), family-owned Luxco, Inc. continues to make progress on its path from merchant bottler to distiller. Luxco’s Lux Row Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky hit another milestone this summer with the completion of one of its six barrel warehouses and the installation of the guts of its new distillery.
The tree-lined approach to Lux Row Distillers adds to the ambiance.
I visited Lux Row yesterday for a hard-hat tour and saw that since the installation of the 43-foot Vendome column still this past March, hot and chilled water tanks have been added along with meal bins, the beer well, fermenters (8,000 gallons each), cookers (4,000 gallons each), and piping connecting everything. Construction should be complete by the end of the year, distillation can begin in January 2018, and Lux Row should be open to the public by Derby 2018.
Creative Director Michele Lux described how she got tapped for her design expertise and planning for the visitor’s center and event space, while she and Distillery Operations Manager Tony Kamer showed us the shiny new equipment in the state-of-the-art distillery. When the site is complete, the 18,000 square foot distillery will be accompanied by six identical barrel warehouses, each with six floors and each with a capacity of 20,000 barrels. Within six months after the first distillation run, the 36-inch diameter Vendome still will be worked up to a pace of 25,000 barrels per year, but as with the rest of the distillery, Luxco has planned on being able to increase capacity.
According to my interview of Luxco President and COO, David Bratcher, during the groundbreaking ceremony in May 2016, Lux Row plans to stick to brown spirits, with bourbon mash bills containing rye or wheat as secondary grains, along with rye whiskey mash bills. Current supply forecasts are sufficient, which allows this dedication to American whiskies, and which will also allow aging of at least five years (2023!) before the first Luxco brands will use Lux Row whiskey.
Now, in the meantime, if I could just convince Luxco to add a private barrel program for Rebel Yell 10-year single barrel, that might help tide us all over.
Joseph & Joseph rendering of the completed project.