Buffalo Trace recently filled its eighth millionth barrel of bourbon since Prohibition, with this barrel having been topped off just four years after the seventh million was put down to age.
What’s particularly remarkable about this, according to distillery officials, is that, unlike previous milestones which took an average of 12 years to achieve, the eighth millionth barrel comes as a result of the the $1.2 billion expansion efforts put in at Buffalo Trace over the last several years.
“Over the past few years, we’ve doubled our fermenters, added more grain cookers and more barrel warehouses, all in an effort to make more bourbon,” said Harlen Wheatley, master distiller, in a prepared statement. “We’ve filled a record number of barrels every year, as evidenced by how fast we moved from the seventh millionth barrel to the eighth millionth barrel.
“Now that we have our new still house starting up, we’ll be able to double the output of our whiskey production, so we’re going to be reaching 9 million barrels before you know it!”
At a ceremony held at the distillery to commemorate this barrel, third generation Buffalo Trace team member Freddie Johnson “carried on his father’s legacy by rolling the eighth millionth barrel into Warehouse V, the world’s smallest bonded barrel warehouse. Joining Freddie on the ceremonial barrel roll was his teenage grandson, marking four generations from the Johnson family to have a hand in the milestone barrels filled at Buffalo Trace.
“Johnson’s late father Jimmy Johnson, a former warehouse supervisor, played a key role in each millionth barrel produced at Buffalo Trace since Prohibition.”
“Reflecting back on the history of this Distillery,” said Mark Brown, president and chief executive officer, Buffalo Trace Distillery, “the progress we’ve made over the past few decades is astounding, but even more impressive is the dedication and longevity of so many of our team members. We have many second and third generation team members here, and several members of our workforce who have been here 20, 30, some even closing in on 40 years with us!
“It’s this commitment to their craft that not only sets us apart but positions us perfectly for future growth as we continue our focus on producing more award-winning bourbon for future generations to enjoy.”
Buffalo Trace’s seventh millionth barrel of bourbon, barreled in April of 2018, has been removed from Warehouse V and put away to continue aging in one of Buffalo Trace’s larger warehouses. After a few more years, it will be ready to bottle and will be offered to various nonprofit organizations for fundraising efforts. Information about how to apply for a bottle will be announced at that time.