Skip to content
Previous Next

Brown-Forman to Expand Louisville Distillery Operation; Old Forester Tree Nursery Part of Expansion at Shively Site

Louisville, KY, February 18, 2021 – Brown-Forman Corporation announces the planned expansion of the Brown-Forman Distillery to meet the growing demand for American whiskey. As part of the production expansion, Old Forester will create an oak tree nursery on the property for a long-term study of oak tree sustainability, part of the company’s overall effort to ensure the future viability of one of the most critical ingredients in bourbon making .

The distillery expansion will double the capacity of the facility while remaining on the same parcels of land. Construction is expected to take more than two years to complete. The site, located off of Dixie Highway in Shively, will be fully operational throughout this period.

“The demand for American whiskey worldwide is a result of the craftsmanship and specialness of Kentucky’s signature spirit,” said Alex Alvarez, Chief Production and Sustainability Officer, Brown-Forman. “This expansion will allow us to increase production, improve efficiency, and enhance the workspace so we can continue bringing whiskey, made right here in Louisville, Kentucky, to the world.”

Brown-Forman’s premium bourbons have enjoyed exceptional growth over the last decade, with reported net sales of +18% in the first half of the company’s current fiscal year.
The estimated $95 million investment includes:
• Doubling the number of fermenters;
• Adding column still capacity and mash cookers;
• Improving the grain handling and by-products system;
• Improving on-site traffic flow for safety;
• Creating green space for a tree nursery; and
• Modernizing the workspace, including a new break room, new locker rooms, and wellness space.

To encourage investment in this growing industry, the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development approved Brown-Forman for tax incentives up to $5 million under the Kentucky Reinvestment Act. This performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the term of the agreement through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting certain targets. An additional $500,000 was approved under the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act, which allows companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on certain construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development, and electronic processing equipment.

Brown-Forman has a long history of distilling at the Shively location. The original distillery was built in 1935 by the Old Kentucky Distillery Company. Brown-Forman acquired the distillery in 1940. The company replaced the original distillery with the current operation in 1954-1955 and did a major expansion of the facility in 1966-1967. During that time, Brown-Forman contracted with the Olmsted Firm to do landscaping, as part of this effort a nursery was established at this location consisting of 3,500 trees, plants, and shrubs.

The new Old Forester Tree Nursery, the first urban white oak seedling establishment and genetic study, will be conducted in partnership with University of Kentucky’s Department of Forestry and Natural Resources. It will serve as a model for other urban studies in the future with the goal of improving economic and ecological value in urban, rural, and natural forests.
Brown-Forman and partners will plant acorns in the nursery later this Spring. This program adds to the white oak sustainability work Brown-Forman supports as a founding member of the White Oak Initiative alongside DendriFund and other industry partners. To learn more about the White Oak Initiative, visit: https://www.whiteoakinitiative.org/.

For over 150 years, Brown-Forman Corporation has enriched the experience of life by responsibly building fine quality beverage alcohol brands, including Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee RTDs, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Apple, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire, Gentleman Jack, Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel, Finlandia, Korbel, el Jimador, Woodford Reserve, Old Forester, Coopers’ Craft, Herradura, New Mix, Sonoma-Cutrer, Chambord, Benriach, GlenDronach, Glenglassaugh, Slane, and Fords Gin. Brown-Forman’s brands are supported by approximately 4,800 employees and sold in more than 170 countries worldwide. For more information about the company, please visit https://www.brown-forman.com/.

Important Information on Forward-Looking Statements:
This press release contains statements, estimates, and projections that are “forward-looking statements” as defined under U.S. federal securities laws. Words such as “aim,” “anticipate,” “aspire,” “believe,” “can,” “continue,” “could,” “envision,” “estimate,” “expect,” “expectation,” “intend,” “may,” “might,” “plan,” “potential,” “project,” “pursue,” “see,” “seek,” “should,” “will,” “would,” and similar words indicate forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date we make them. Except as required by law, we do not intend to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve risks, uncertainties, and other factors (many beyond our control) that could cause our actual results to differ materially from our historical experience or from our current expectations or projections. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to:
• Impact of health epidemics and pandemics, including the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting negative economic impact and related governmental actions
• Risks associated with being a U.S.-based company with global operations, including commercial, political, and financial risks; local labor policies and conditions; protectionist trade policies, or economic or trade sanctions, including additional retaliatory tariffs on American spirits and the effectiveness of our actions to mitigate the negative impact on our margins, sales, and distributors; compliance with local trade practices and other regulations; terrorism; and health pandemics
• Failure to comply with anti-corruption laws, trade sanctions and restrictions, or similar laws or regulations
• Fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates, particularly a stronger U.S. dollar
• Changes in laws, regulatory measures, or governmental policies – especially those that affect the production, importation, marketing, labeling, pricing, distribution, sale, or consumption of our beverage alcohol products
• Tax rate changes (including excise, sales, VAT, tariffs, duties, corporate, individual income, dividends, or capital gains) or changes in related reserves, changes in tax rules or accounting standards, and the unpredictability and suddenness with which they can occur
• Unfavorable global or regional economic conditions, particularly related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and related economic slowdowns or recessions, low consumer confidence, high unemployment, weak credit or capital markets, budget deficits, burdensome government debt, austerity measures, higher interest rates, higher taxes, political instability, higher inflation, deflation, lower returns on pension assets, or lower discount rates for pension obligations
• Dependence upon the continued growth of the Jack Daniel’s family of brands
• Changes in consumer preferences, consumption, or purchase patterns – particularly away from larger producers in favor of small distilleries or local producers, or away from brown spirits, our premium products, or spirits generally, and our ability to anticipate or react to them; legalization of marijuana use on a more widespread basis; shifts in consumer purchase practices from traditional to e-commerce retailers; bar, restaurant, travel, or other on-premise declines; shifts in demographic or health and wellness trends; or unfavorable consumer reaction to new products, line extensions, package changes, product reformulations, or other product innovation
• Decline in the social acceptability of beverage alcohol in significant markets
• Production facility, aging warehouse, or supply chain disruption
• Imprecision in supply/demand forecasting
• Higher costs, lower quality, or unavailability of energy, water, raw materials, product ingredients, labor, or finished goods
• Significant additional labeling or warning requirements or limitations on availability of our beverage alcohol products
• Competitors’ and retailers’ consolidation or other competitive activities, such as pricing actions (including price reductions, promotions, discounting, couponing, or free goods), marketing, category expansion, product introductions, or entry or expansion in our geographic markets or distribution networks
• Route-to-consumer changes that affect the timing of our sales, temporarily disrupt the marketing or sale of our products, or result in higher fixed costs
• Inventory fluctuations in our products by distributors, wholesalers, or retailers
• Risks associated with acquisitions, dispositions, business partnerships, or investments – such as acquisition integration, termination difficulties or costs, or impairment in recorded value
• Counterfeiting and inadequate protection of our intellectual property rights
• Product recalls or other product liability claims, product tampering, contamination, or quality issues
• Significant legal disputes and proceedings, or government investigations
• Cyber breach or failure or corruption of key information technology systems, or failure to comply with personal data protection laws
• Negative publicity related to our company, products, brands, marketing, executive leadership, employees, board of directors, family stockholders, operations, business performance, or prospects
• Failure to attract or retain key executive or employee talent
• Our status as a family “controlled company” under New York Stock Exchange rules, and our dual-class share structure
For further information on these and other risks, please refer to our public filings, including the “Risk Factors” section of our annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.