The Cellar at Maker’s Mark Distillery

Loretto, Kentucky

Geotechnical, Bridge & Structural, Site Design, Geospatial / Completed

The Cellar at Maker’s Mark Distillery

Loretto, Kentucky

Geotechnical, Bridge & Structural, Site Design, Geospatial / Completed

$5 million

Construction Cost

35-FT

Limestone Wall

10,000 Tons

Rock Excavated

Maker’s Mark Distillery in Loretto, Kentucky, was looking to increase production of Maker’s 46–the Distillery’s top-shelf bourbon whisky, aged nine weeks longer than their traditional Maker’s Mark bourbon. But there was a catch—unlike traditional bourbon aging that is reliant on the extreme seasonal temperature fluctuations, the Maker’s 46 chemical process only worked in a cold environment, limiting production to Kentucky’s short 7-month winter season. To keep up with the demand for their product, the Distillery needed a barrel storage facility capable of producing Maker’s 46 year-round.

AEI provided the solution with the structural design of The Cellar, based on the centuries old wine cellar. The Cellar is a distinctive storage building recessed into the side of a hill with 10,000 tons of rock excavated to create a 35-FT tall natural limestone wall that serves as the rear interior wall. Weathered rock and erodible limestone necessitated excavating 15 feet further into the hillside than planned to achieve a structurally sound rock shelf.

Incorporating the rock into the finished structure eliminates expensive retaining walls and naturally provides a consistent 50° environment for aging all year long. The Cellar roof, designed like a bridge superstructure with 4-FT wide, 60-FT long precast concrete box beams, eliminates interior columns for efficient rack placement.

18-inch thick reinforced concrete side walls were dowelled into the rock below and stair-stepped down the hillside, taking further advantage of the natural limestone. The green roof with two feet of soil has a drainage blanket below that drains water to the scuppers and away from the building.

Energy efficiency and green infrastructure made the facility a candidate for LEED certification. Five additional months of production met the sales demand and supports the Kentucky bourbon industry, where more than $1.1 billion in capital projects benefitting the engineering community are planned or underway. This one-of-a-kind storage facility achieved the production objectives of the client while creating a distinctive structure reflective of the first-class Maker’s Mark quality, tradition, culture, and aesthetics.

Key Project Personnel

Kenny Ott, PE

Senior Structural Engineer

Dennis Mitchell, PE

Senior Geotechnical Engineer

Don Pedigo, PLS

Business Developement

Dusty Barrett, PE

Senior Geotechnical Engineer

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