Danville distillery project will have HQ on Louisville’s ‘Whiskey Row’

Published 4:35 pm Wednesday, November 21, 2018

A whiskey company currently building rickhouses for bourbon barrels in Danville has acquired a building on Louisville’s “Whiskey Row” that it plans to use as its headquarters, according to reporting in Louisville Business First.

IJW Whiskey has plans for as many as 17 rickhouses — large, multi-story warehouses used to age bourbon, a distillery and a “presentation center and office” on land off of Lebanon Road on the west side of Danville, according to a concept plan filed with the local planning and zoning office.

This month, IJW spent $2.9 million on a 10,681-square-foot building in downtown Louisville that used to house the restaurant Hillbilly Tea, according to Business First reporter Marty Finley. Craig Collins, a senior director with Cushman & Wakefield-Commercial Kentucky who represented IJW for the transaction, told Finley IJW “recognize(s) that block on West Main Street is ground zero for the bourbon boom.”

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“The new headquarters site in Louisville will be a perfect bookend to Danville, combining the best of both worlds for IJW’s operations,” said Jody Lassiter, president of the Danville-Boyle County Economic Development Partnership. “The Louisville location will be the world’s introduction to IJW on Whiskey Row in Kentucky’s largest metro, while the workhorse location in Danville will focus on production and aging of IJW’s whiskey products. Several other newer distillers in Kentucky have similar arrangements.”

Lassiter said IJW is “well into the building of its second massive rickhouse at its Danville location, with plans for a third soon behind and other construction in the works.”

IJW’s Danville property is located adjacent to Wilderness Trail Distillery, whose owners, Pat Heist and Shane Baker, have publicly supported the project. The phase of development underway now includes access roads to the first three IJW rickhouses from Wilderness Trail’s property.

IJW is currently building on 32 acres purchased from the Boyle County Industrial Foundation; it has an option on 110 more acres for future phases of development. Danville-Boyle County P&Z Director Steve Hunter said in early 2018 that the second phase of the project could be a presentation center, and “phase three would be the option for the growth to the rear, for the other rickhouses and the distillery.”

“My impression is that IJW will be purchasing additional property within the 110 acres under option sooner rather than later,” Lassiter said Wednesday. “Ultimately the plan is for IJW to build its own distillery on the optioned property in Danville.”