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Kentucky’s Michter’s Ramps Up Production To Boost Availability

March 3, 2023

Kentucky-based distiller and bottler Michter’s sold through all the whiskey its distilling and maturation teams deemed ready for bottling in 2022, as has been typical for the brand as it caters to consumers at American whiskey’s high end. This year, the company is continuing its efforts to increase production, adding new barrel houses and running additional distillation in an effort to make Michter’s perennially allocated whiskies more widely available. In addition to the behind the scenes production increases, Michter’s is also placing a greater emphasis on tourism by building on guest experiences at the brand’s Fort Nelson Distillery in Louisville.

“We’re making very significant capital expenditures to grow our production,” Joe Magliocco, Michter’s president, told SND. “We’ve made a conscious decision that we want to do everything we can to keep the quality as high as possible.” Recent releases from Michter’s have included its 10-year-old Bourbon, bottled at 47.2% abv and retailing at $185 a bottle. Also this year, the brand rolled out the ultra-luxury Celebration Sour Mash, carrying an abv of 56.4% and a sticker price of $6,000.

Production for Michter’s has been centered at its 87,000-square-foot Shively distillery for eight years, Magliocco explained, with recent releases in Michter’s flagship U.S.-1 line—Bourbon, rye, unblended American whiskey, and sour mash whiskey—all distilled at Shively. The site added a third shift in December as it looks to ramp up output. “We’re now distilling 24/7,” said Magliocco. “So we are increasing production and laying down more whiskey over time.”

While the heart of Michter’s production is at the Shively site, the company does distill at its Fort Nelson tourism hub in downtown Louisville, using the pot still system purchased from the original Michter’s of Pennsylvania. Though the whiskies distilled at Fort Nelson are some years away from bottling, Magliocco said the company is weighing its options for release, given that the Fort Nelson whiskies are stylistically distinct. “I would anticipate that the Fort Nelson stuff is probably going to be its own releases,” he said, adding that no firm decisions have been made.

Meanwhile, the Fort Nelson site is furthering the tourism component for the company with tours, tastings, and a full bar with classic and modern, seasonally inspired cocktails. In the last year, Fort Nelson, along with the wider Kentucky Bourbon Trail, has seen a spike in visitors and Magliocco said the company needs to adapt to keep up. “Within the first half of this year, we’re going to be doubling our tour sizes to try to meet the demand,” he said. “We’re going to be extending the days that Fort Nelson’s open.”—Shane English

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