Distillery Expansion Q&A with Joseph & Joseph Architects

Our Distillery in Lawrenceburg, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1910 and features a unique Spanish Mission-Style architecture rarely seen in Kentucky.

In the spring of 2015, we announced a major expansion project of the Four Roses Distillery. The expansion is well underway, meaning more Bourbon for every mellow moment is soon to come.

Merrill Moter, partner at Joseph & Joseph Architects, sat down with us to chat about the project. We’re sharing this Q&A first with you, our loyal Mellow Moments Club members.


What is the process of modeling a new structure after the historic Spanish mission style for which Four Roses Distillery is known?

Well, Joseph and Joseph Architects designed and built the original Distillery building back in 1910, so luckily we are able to reference the original blueprints and plans, and study what materials were used more than a century ago. Of course, we now have the luxury of accounting for advances in materials and technology. Our goal isn’t to match the original building precisely, but to build a structure to be compatible with the original design.

What are the challenges of the expansion of such a historic building?

One of our biggest challenges is working in stages so that the Distillery can remain open during construction for continued production and tours. We’re also dealing with building codes that didn’t exist in 1910, which adds to the complexity of the project.

My team enjoys tackling a challenge. Some of the most interesting have been helping to design ways to fit large pieces of equipment into the buildings. For instance, some equipment is too large to fit through the door, so we’ve had to take sections of the roof off of the original Distillery building and lower equipment through with a crane. We’re also working very closely with Four Roses to design the most convenient location for manways, where Distillery employees have access to monitor equipment, make repairs, run quality checks on the Bourbon, and more.

What’s the best part about spending your days at a Bourbon distillery?

First and foremost, the people at Four Roses are incredible, and have been so great to work with. It’s really a pleasure to be there, and a lot of fun! Construction sites are not always like that.

Furthermore, it’s quite interesting to see how Four Roses is duplicating all of its equipment to mimic the original versions. They’re clearly dedicated to the craft and ensuring the quality of the product will not change by making sure the process remains exactly the same.

Do you like Bourbon? Do you have a favorite cocktail?

Of course I do. I take my Four Roses served neat.