JRA-Designed Attraction Connects Bourbon Lovers to Iconic Brand
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Cincinnati-based JRA (Jack Rouse Associates) recently completed the design and realization of the new Jim Beam American Stillhouse and Distillery Tour in Clermont, Kentucky, which celebrated its grand opening on Wednesday, October 3. The new attraction provides guests with an authentic experience, bringing them closer to the process and history of this 215-year-old brand.
Jim Beam’s new visitor center comprises three distinct yet interconnected parts: the American Stillhouse, the Distillery Tour and the American Outpost tasting room. The Stillhouse is a recreation of a period stillhouse building, complete with a 40-ft high copper column still that houses the facility’s main elevator. Within the Stillhouse, guests can view a variety of exhibits, including a media scrapbook that introduces them to the heritage of the Beam Family, the distillery and the brand. This family history is also told through static and rolling graphics as well a media piece shown on a 103” monitor. An additional video illustrates Jim Beam’s role in popular culture. Visitors can limit their journey to just the Stillhouse or buy a tour ticket at the counter and meet their guide.
The introduction of the Distillery Tour marks the first time that Jim Beam has opened its factory doors to the public. The tour meanders through both the small and large batch production processes, providing guests with the opportunity to compare and contrast the intimate experience of handling the mash of the small batch line with the heat, smell and scale of the 10,000-gallon large batch fermentation vats. Small- and large-batch bottling processes are also explored, before the guest caps their tour in the packaging and distribution room, where a display of hundreds of artful, limited-edition decanters awaits. All of the production areas featured within the guest experience are part of authentic, working operations, producing the same Jim Beam and Knob Creek bourbon enjoyed around the world. Throughout the tour, guests meet the real stars of the show – the Jim Beam staff. JRA knew that Jim Beam’s greatest strength was its people and looked for ways to leverage this asset throughout the design process.
After the tour, thirsty visitors can make their way to the state-of-the-art American Outpost tasting room. In contrast to traditional bourbon tasting experiences, JRA created a cocktail-party atmosphere with the introduction of the Enomatic – a wine-serving system adapted for bourbon for the first time. Guests are given a tasting card and are briefly introduced to the different brands. They then have the power to choose which two samples they would like to drink.
The American Stillhouse, Distillery Tour and American Outpost tasting room offer the guest an authentic, interactive experience that coincides with Jim Beam’s tagline of “come as friends, leave as family.” A full month before its completion, CNN Travel ranked the new Jim Beam American Stillhouse and Distillery Tour as one of the “World’s Best” – sight unseen and solely based on its vision and proposed enhancements. Jim Beam aims to increase visitor numbers from 80,000 to 250,000 with the new attraction, catapulting it from the lowest rated tour on the Trail to the highest.
JRA, along with fabrication partner Geograph Industries, Inc. and AV integrator Anacore, Inc., provided complete planning, design and project management for the American Stillhouse, Distillery Tour and American Outpost tasting room.
The Jim Beam American Stillhouse is located at 526 Happy Hollow Road, Clermont, KY, 40110. For more information on the American Stillhouse, Distillery Tour and American Outpost tasting room, visit www.americanstillhouse.com.
JRA plans, designs and realizes exceptional visitor experiences for entertainment, cultural, sport and corporate clients around the world. In recent years, JRA has designed a number of branded attractions for such corporate clients as The Coca-Cola Company, CNN, Ferrari, LEGO, Jack Daniels and Volkswagen.