Most companies distilled bourbon in rural areas, but they took up block after block in downtown Louisville with business offices and storage. Prohibition wiped many of them out. Later in the century, suburbanization finished the job with many other urban industries.
“If you bring manufacturing back into the urban fabric, there might be more workers to repopulate and reinvigorate the downtown,” says Yale School of Architecture student Rafael Ng. Ng and a group of his classmates visited Louisville this week to study the bourbon industry and design an urban distillery that could stand on the block across from the current Whiskey Row buildings at 1st and Main streets.
But creating jobs is just one thing an urban distillery can do.
“For each student, their prerogative might be different. There’s an opportunity to celebrate the act and spectacle of producing whiskey,” says Ng.