Not Your Father's Distillery: Blue Run Plans A Stunning New Headquarters
March 27, 2023 –––––– Julia Higgins
Blue Run Spirits launched in 2020 to great anticipation—mainly because its roster included Jim Rutledge, taking on his first major whiskey role since retiring from Four Roses in 2015. In the few years since then, the company has gained a high profile with a slew of well-received bourbons and ryes with Rutledge serving as liquid advisor. Some were contract distilled by Rutledge at Castle & Key, and the rest have come from Bardstown Bourbon Co. Blue Run co-founder and CEO Mike Montgomery says the company has grown 300% year-over-year, and sold close to 200,000 bottles last year. Now it’s making a big leap by building its own distillery.
Blue Run is set to break ground later this year on a 35,000-square-foot distillery and a 20,000-square-foot rickhouse in Georgetown, Kentucky, a small city on the outskirts of Lexington. Plans have been drawn up by Bjarke Ingels Group, the Danish architecture firm behind the Google headquarters, Noma restaurant, and other major projects.
At the heart of the distillery’s design is the Royal Spring, from which Blue Run gets its name (one of the co-founders nicknamed the spring “the blue run”). The structural design, called “Meander,” will mimic the winding path that water takes from the ground to the bottle. Other details will include a roof made entirely of solar paneling. A visitor center will also be part of the mix, and production is expected to come onstream by 2025.
Fans will have to wait a bit longer to taste the distillery’s whiskey, of course. But they needn’t worry because Blue Run’s current contract distilling partnerships will remain in place. Since launching, Blue Run has released over a dozen whiskeys, most of which have been limited. Even after it amps up its own production, the releases are likely to remain small and micro batch, Montgomery says.