Friday, January 19, 2018

Pay Attention to Lux Row Distillers Right Now

Lux Row, the new bourbon distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky, set its first fermenters today. In a few days, that liquid will be distilled, entered into barrels, and placed in the new warehouse to age.

Lux Row is the first distillery for Luxco, a long-time non-distiller producer (NDP), and the seller of such bourbon brands as Ezra Brooks, Rebel Yell, Blood Oath, and David Nicholson. Announced in 2016, it is now open for business. Although nothing made at the new distillery will be available for purchase until 2022 or so, now is a good time to pay attention because Lux Row Distiller John Rempe and his team are documenting their progress on Facebook, Instagram, and their own web site.

As of today, they are transitioning from construction to production.

Luxco, which is based in St. Louis, has been selling bourbon, and a portfolio of other distilled spirits products, since 1958; as the David Sherman Company until 2006. For most of that time they were a regional company. About 20 years ago they acquired several minor but national bourbon brands. They have been building on that to become a significant player, especially in American whiskey. Rempe is their long-time blender, R&D, and quality control guy. He has moved to Bardstown where he retains those roles with the added responsibility of distiller.

When Lux Row claims to be 'family-owned,' they are talking about the Lux family, Luxco's owners.

As an NDP, Luxco purchases the whiskey it sells in bulk from distillers. They typically buy it long before they intend to sell it. As such, they have an aging inventory of about 50,000 barrels.

After 60 years as a successful NDP, Luxco decided to take the plunge and become a distiller because its usual suppliers could no longer provide enough whiskey for Luxco's needs. That is a testament to how robust the American whiskey industry is right now. Their intention is to make all of the whiskey for their four principal brands at Lux Row.

Although it is not yet open to the public, Lux Row/Luxco is a member of the Kentucky Distillers' Association and will be a stop on the official Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

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