Fans of Buffalo Trace will soon have a new, beautiful distillery location to visit in Murfreesboro
The Sazerac Company recently finalized the purchase of 55 idyllic acres in Middle Tennessee. This new site is the future home of all Sazerac of Tennessee operations and warehousing, eventually relocating both equipment and aging whiskey barrels from the remote Newport location. Distilling operations are hoped to be underway in the early months of 2020.
When asked why Sazerac was investing in the move across the state, Allisa Henley, Sazerac of Tennessee distiller, replied, “After reviewing many sites across middle Tennessee, we felt that the Murfreesboro property provides the perfect combination of the requirements we wanted. Some of our requirements included: a scenic location, a vibrant and growing city, locally grown grain, easy access for tourists and the opportunity to partner with the fermentation program at MTSU.”
Murfreesboro’s Middle Tennessee State University recently began offering a Bachelor of Science in Fermentation Science, within the School of Agribusiness and Agriscience.
The scenic location is definitely achieved with a five acre, serene lake as the centerpiece of the planned distillery complex. The visitor center, distillery, bottling lines, meeting space, and warehouses surround the quarry-turned-lake in the plans for the property. Sazerac expects to welcome guests to the distillery in 2020 as a stop on the Tennessee Whiskey Trail.
Currently, the property is accessed by a short drive through the adjacent neighborhood, down a seemingly abandoned road, through a locked gate, and onto an unpaved, one lane gravel road through the woods. By the time tourists begin arriving, a new road will bring them in, avoiding the neighborhood. “As part of being a good neighbor in Murfreesboro, we will not open the visitor center until the Cherry Lane Road extension to our site is completed,” explains Allisa.
Much of our tour was spent explaining property improvements that would make for good neighborly relations including thickening the green buffer around the portion of the property line that backs up to residential areas to help with noise control. All distillery operations are on the opposite side of the lake from the neighborhood.
Some of the residents of that neighborhood launched a series of complaints and concerns with the Murfreesboro City Council earlier this year when news of the impending sale was made public. Traffic issues, environmental questions, and “black mold” topped the list of neighbors’ fears, but Sazerac made concessions with new access roads and a lot of science to explain how mold works around distilleries. (Spoiler alert: mold is everywhere, distillery or no distillery.) The lake will be used for cooling water only.
Tennessee whiskey will continue to be the main focus of the new distillery “however, Sazerac is known for award winning experimentation and we will continue that tradition with experimental whiskies,” says Allisa. John Lunn, Allisa’s distiller partner in Newport, is consistently putting up barrels while the new site is ramping up for construction. Distilling will continue there until the stills are moved to their new home.
“We’re looking forward to having a new home for our distillery in Murfreesboro and we’re excited about being so close to Middle Tennessee State University and partnering with their students in the fermentation program,” said Master Distiller John Lunn.