Woodford Reserve Distillery
As stonemasons we have always been keenly interested in the architecture of distillery buildings. Many of the finest examples are built with stone. We know that historically people would build with the materials that were handy, so is it just coincidence that distilleries world-wide are constructed of stone? Did all these hopeful entrepreneurs just happen to settle in areas that were riddled with fieldstone? Or, did they know something that others didn’t? With our knowledge of stone we’re going to help unlock a simple mystery, using one of Kentucky’s finest distilleries as an example.
The Woodford Reserve Distillery has beautiful limestone buildings that are over a 100 years old. The actual Distillery building is the oldest, with the first section going up in 1838. The distillery is located in the heart of Kentucky’s Bluegrass Region, hidden away between some of the most scenic thoroughbred horse farms in the country. The area is littered with limestone; it’s just coming up through the ground. Stone of this kind is what masons call fieldstone. Where there’s fieldstone, there’s bedrock, and where there’s bedrock you’re likely to find an aquifer. The Bluegrass Region sits on top of a huge limestone aquifer. The limestone serves as a giant filter, removing unwanted materials from the water and adding calcium. As any good stonemason knows, limestone is nothing more than calcium carbonate. It just so happens that calcium is one of the essential minerals that yeast cells need to grow and produce enzymes. The Woodford Reserve’s unique location produces calcium-rich water that reacts quite favorably with the yeast during production, making for better Bourbon.
So the next time you want to start up your own whiskey operation, take some time to make friends with the local stonemason.