DANVILLE, Ky. - Danville's first distillery has announced plans to expand its operations to the John Hill Bailey Industrial Park.
Wilderness Trail Distillery, which is currently located at 445 Roy Arnold Blvd., will expand onto a 21-acre lot of the John H. Stigall Business Center. The property is located along the historic Clarks Run waterway, and includes the historic Willis Grimes House, which was built in 1859 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Distillery owners Shane Baker and Pat Heist said a $3.5 million investment over the next few years would develop a three-phase expansion plan for the new site. The plan is to renovate the Willis Grimes House into a visitor center, as well as construct a new barrel-aging warehouse and a new still house.
Baker said expanding to the 21-acre tract provides the room needed to expand the distillery operations, address current growth and offer more for bourbon lovers to see.
"As members of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour®, we see a lot of tourists, and 95 percent of our visitors are from outside the state," Baker said. "It is so exciting seeing people from all over the world - Scotland, Australia, Japan - and all over the U.S., visiting our small town here in Danville. These visitors stay the night in our hotels, dine in our restaurants, and shop in our local businesses."
Baker and Heist said they decided to keep operations in Danville because the town has the resources to support their plans for expansion.
"Jody Lassiter with the Danville-Boyle County Economic Development Partnership really made this deal happen," Heist said. "We challenged him with a long list of requests for the perfect site that would pay homage to Danville and the first settlers here. We are traditionalists in making our spirits, but we are preservationists at heart. Lassiter hit a home run when he suggested this site for relocation."
Lassiter, President and CEO of the EDP, said he is glad Baker and Heist decided to continue operating in Danville and is excited to see their plans come to fruition.
"This project is a grand slam for our community's economy through retention, expansion, tourism, and historic preservation," Lassiter said. "First, it retains Wilderness Trail as a new, vibrant business in our community. Second, the distillery will expand and reinvest in what has been a fast-growing operation since its launch last year. Third, Wilderness Trail can eventually offer a broadened visitor experience at site, which includes the Willis Grimes House. Finally, the Willis Grimes House, built in 1859, will be preserved with a productive reuse as the historic face of the distillery's future."
Wilderness Trail Distillery will begin construction on the two-story, barrel-aging warehouse later this month.
For more information on the distillery, visit wildernesstraildistillery.com
For more information on the John Hill Bailey Industrial Park, which is located at Lebanon Road and the U.S. 127/150 Bypass, visit bettersitesindanville.com
About the Danville-Boyle County Economic Development Partnership
The EDP is a community alliance of the Boyle County Industrial Foundation, Danville-Boyle County Chamber of Commerce, Danville-Boyle County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Heart of Danville Main Street Program, Main Street Perryville, and the local governments of Boyle County, Kentucky, and Cities of Danville, Junction City, and Perryville. The EDP communicates, collaborates, and coordinates the interdependent missions, resources, and initiatives of its Partners to grow the economy of Boyle County, Kentucky. For more information, visit betterindanville.com