Diageo to restore Stitzel-Weller Visitor Center

Diageo has announced that it plans to invest an initial US$2 million to develop the Stitzel-Weller Visitor Center at the Louisville distillery.

The company says it will renovate the original administrative building to "bring to life the history of the Stitzel-Weller Distillery through artifacts from the site’s archives; a whiskey education section; a homage to the people, land and water of Kentucky; and a celebration of the heritage, brands and people behind Diageo’s American whiskey portfolio".

The visitor centre will showcase Diageo's Bulleit brand as well as its craft whiskey portfolio, including the just-launched Orphan Barrel whiskeys, Barterhouse and Old Blowhard.

Diageo aims to begin the project immediately, and finish the first phase in time for Derby Day this May. The company plans to complete the visitor centre, welcome centre and gift shop this summer.

The Stitzel-Weller Distillery in Shively, opened on Derby Day in 1935. On June 30, 1972, the company was sold. After a series of name and ownership changes, Stitzel-Weller is now owned by Diageo. Though the site today is operational in that it stores and rests barrels of various whiskies, Stitzel-Weller has not been a functioning distillery since 1992.

Diageo North America president Larry Schwartz said: “Stitzel-Weller is one of the most significant and historic parts of Kentucky’s bourbon heritage and we are honoured to be restoring it to share it with Louisville residents and visitors.

“This is another step in our support of and leadership within the American craft whiskey movement and we hope that the Stitzel-Weller Visitor Center will soon be included on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.”

In a separate announcement, Diageo says it has selected Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), an IT services, consulting and business solutions organisation, as its new global IT provider.

The appointment is meant to transform the way it provides IS services to around 36,000 employees, operating in 180 countries.

TCS will manage Diageo’s global IT infrastructure, data centres and servers, in addition to providing service desk support to employees.

Diageo hopes this will provide a “greater level of flexibility and differentiation of services to meet market needs, allow for swift adoption of future technology trends, and an enhanced current self-serve capability to deliver an improved end user experience”.