Shigeru Ban Architects (SBA) has been selected to design and plan a new 420-acre campus for the owners of Kentucky Owl bourbon in Bardstown, Kentucky, just south of Louisville. Kentucky Owl Park will convert the former Cedar Creek Quarry into a tourist destination with a distillery, bottling center, and rickhouses, along with a stop for a “vintage dinner train” that will bring visitors in.
Renderings from SBA show three timber pyramids housing the distillery at the center of the complex. The three matching buildings are clad in various proportions of diamond-shaped wood and glass panels, presumably to create different lighting conditions inside.
The old quarry pits on site will be filled with water, setting the complex in a series of large ponds. The site plan indicates planned spaces for fishing, swimming, and other aquatic activities, along with an art gallery, convention center, and, appropriately enough, an “owl forest.”
The $150 million project comes on the heels of Stoli Group’s purchasing of the Kentucky Owl brand in 2017. The bourbon line initially debuted in 1879 and was produced not far from Bardstown by Charles Mortimer Dedman, but production was discontinued in 1916. Dedman’s descendants resurrected the line in 2014 and sold it to Stoli soon thereafter. According to an interview with Dmitry Efimov, head of Stoli Group’s American Whiskey Division, in the Lexington Herald Leader, Stoli was not previously producing brown liquors, and the new park evinces their intention to expand in that area. While Kentucky Owl will continue to be produced separately in small batches, the new distillery will mass produce other, as yet unannounced, brown liquors.
Stoli plans to integrate the new park into the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, a collection of distilleries that host tastings and tours in the area. Earthscape and Design Workshop are the landscape architecture firms on the project. The complex is scheduled to open in 2020.