James B Beam Distilling Company, makers of Kentucky bourbon for over 225 years, has been a popular destination on the Bourbon Trail for decades. Nestled at the edge of the Bernheim Forest, the site is marked by the old growth forest, rolling topography, and eight generations’ worth of whiskey production infrastructure. With increased production and growing visitor interest, the campus is undergoing a multiphase renovation to transform arrival experience, expand visitor programming and improve stewardship of natural resources – their biggest renovation since prohibition.
The Master Plan established a vision of a connected environmentally responsible campus, including the removal of extensive parking lots in the center of campus, conversion of high maintenance lawns to native meadows, clarification of circulation and establishment of new outdoor visitor spaces.
Phase 1, completed in the fall of 2021, includes a shaded dining terrace, cocktail grove, mixology cutting garden and event lawns and an arrival garden for the new Fred B. Noe craft distillery. Phase 2, currently in design, will create a shared staff and visitor entry drive, a signature arrival court, sculpture garden and tour departure court. Sustainable efforts of reforestation and stormwater capture are woven throughout and the relocation of staff parking sets the stage for future phases to restore the campus ecology and expand visitor programming.