News out of Louisville today:
Whiskey distillery to revive downtown building

Michter’s Distillery LLC will renovate a historic building on Main Street in downtown Louisville with plans to begin distilling from the location by 2013. The announcement was made Wednesday by Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer during a news conference at the site, the Fort Nelson building at 801 W. Main St.

Officials of Michter’s intend to make the site a tourist attraction in addition to a working distillery.

Michter’s, a New York-based bourbon company that is owned by Chattam Imports , received preliminary approval last week for $200,000 in state tax incentives for the estimated $7.8 million project

Michter’s has been distilling in Bardstown, Ky., since the 1990s, using other distilling companies’ sites, Michter’s president Joseph Magliocco said, and the company was looking to expand production when master distiller Willie Pratt came across the building on Louisville’s “museum row.”
“We fell in love with the building,” Magliocco said, adding that major renovations need to be made before the distillery will be operational. “The building needs a lot of work.”

Michter’s has signed a contract with building owner Paul Bariteau to operate in the building, which was built in 1890. The now-vacant, four-story building once housed several businesses, including a grocery wholesaler and a tobacco exporter

Magliocco expects to begin renovations by spring, and he said he expects to be distilling from the location and giving educational tours by spring 2013. If building permits come through more quickly, however, renovations could start sooner.

The company is working with Louisville-based Joseph & Joseph ArchitectsbizWatch on the project.

Michter’s officials said the volume of spirits produced in Louisville will be small, but they expect to gain attention by opening a site in Louisville, which Magliocco referred to as the “heart of bourbon country.”

“We plan to continue to be small,” Magliocco said, but “we want to have some gradual, planned growth.”