RD1 Spirits, the award-winning Kentucky Straight Bourbon brand, tells BourbonBlog.com about its plans for its $4.8 million brand destination, RD1 Distillery at The Commons.
We are showing you images below and at the bottom of this story for the first time of the new location for RD1 Spirits, which will serve as the anchor tenant of The Commons, Lexington’s newest entertainment district, uniting life, work, and play.
Plans for this new distillery were also unveiled at the groundbreaking yesterday in Lexington, Kentucky (groundbreaking pictured below).
RD1 Distillery says their new location at The Commons ill honor Lexington’s bourbon history dating back to 1865 while showcasing modern-day innovation with wood finishing. With 10,215 square feet, RD1’s new brand destination will more than double the size of RD1’s existing Tasting Room & Gift Shop on Manchester Road, complementing this fast-growing, Lexington-based brand.
“RD1 is expanding the boundaries of Lexington’s Distillery District and strengthening the appeal of what the great city of Lexington has to offer,” Mark Stoops, RD1 shareholder and advisor, and Lexington business leader tells BourbonBlog.com.
“As one of the newest brands added to the Kentucky Bourbon TrailⓇ, RD1 Distillery at The Commons will help boost hometown pride and contribute to the vibrant, winning atmosphere of our community.”
With the new distillery, RD1 will offer additional, customized experiences for guests to explore RD1’s portfolio of Kentucky Straight Bourbon and wood-finished, bourbon expressions.
The two-story RD1 Distillery at The Commons features outdoor seating areas on both levels, overlooking a historic water tower, a visible marker for the entertainment district that will feature RD1 artwork. The brand destination will include an interactive, history-meets-innovation experience of Lexington’s bourbon milestones; a fermentation-to-distillation tour; four private tasting rooms; a glass-enclosed R&D lab for wood finishing of Kentucky Straight Bourbon and barrel thieving; a VIP speakeasy tasting room; a craft cocktail bar; a gift shop; and space for private events.
“RD1 looks to allow guests to experience bourbon in a way that’s most comfortable to them,” said Mike Tetterton, chief executive officer of RD1 and long-time Lexington resident and entrepreneur. “For most of us, that starts with exploring your palate. From there, we like to ask
(Photo from Groundbreaking from left to right: Daren Turner, CEO of The Commons; Mark Stoops, RD1 shareholder and advisor, and Lexington business and community leader; Chris Tetterton, Chief Customer Experience Officer of RD1; Mike Tetterton, CEO of RD1, Marsha Couch, chief financial officer of RD1; Raj Patel, RD1 shareholder and advisor, and Lexington business and community leader; and Barry Brinegar, Co-founder and National Brand Ambassador of RD1)
AN R&D DISTILLERY
RD1 Distillery at The Commons will include an 800-gallon pot still that is the hub of the operation. In addition, the location will also house a 175-gallon pot still, a 750-gallon fermenter, and a 1,000-gallon mash cooker. The distillery is expected to produce one barrel per week for the sole purpose of research and development. RD1 will continue to produce its Kentucky Straight Bourbon at Western Kentucky Distilling in Beaver Dam, Kentucky, under 8th-generation Master Distiller Jacob Call.
Bourbon industry veteran Don Hardwick of Louisville – also a shareholder in RD1 – is leading the distillery design of RD1 Distillery at The Commons.
“We want RD1 Distillery at The Commons to serve as a cornerstone of education, exploration, and entertainment in Lexington,” Tetterton added. “As a brand founded by Lexington entrepreneurs, we are motivated by the bourbon giants of our past and look to honor them with bourbon growth right here in our hometown.”
In December 2023, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced approval of $521,000 in incentives for RD1’s project from the Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority, upon recommendation by the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet.
“This exciting new investment will provide a great bourbon experience for visitors to the Fayette County area. As we continue to see growth in Kentucky’s signature bourbon industry, projects like this are also adding momentum to our tourism efforts,” said Gov. Beshear. “I want to congratulate RD1 Spirits’ leadership and look forward to the positive impact the project will have on the tourism industry and the local community.”
RD1 Distillery at The Commons is expected to open in August 2024. Once fully operational, RD1 looks to create 11 full-time job positions.
THE RD1 STORY
As a brand founded to celebrate meaningful firsts, RD1 – which stands for Registered Distillery One – was founded in 2020 to help keep the story alive of some of Lexington’s first bourbon entrepreneurs, who founded Ashland Distillery in 1865. Ashland, which later changed ownership and became more widely known as the William Tarr Distillery, was Lexington’s first federally registered distillery.
“We’re not only fascinated by bourbon’s rich history but also in writing that next chapter,” Tetterton said. “It’s an honor and responsibility that we take seriously to help grow Fayette County and contribute to Kentucky as a whole.”
RD1’s award-winning portfolio includes RD1’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Finished With French Oak, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished With Brazilian Amburana Wood, and Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Double Finished In Oak and Maple Barrels.
The brand has experienced tremendous growth in 2023, including expanded distribution to 16 states with an expectation of 25 states by the end of 2024. RD1 earned 66 awards in 2023, the majority gold and platinum for high marks in taste categories.
RD1 Distillery at The Commons will be located at 113 Turner Commons Way in Lexington and will sit at the entertainment district entrance, right off Main Street. The Commons will feature more than 600 parking spaces in the development, providing ample space for distillery guests.
Also included in the development plans are high-end, short-term vacation rentals; creative office space; a 0.7-mile walking trail; an adventure park with axe-throwing and high-speed go-karts; and a state-of-the-art music venue that promises to be a premier destination for live entertainment. The Commons is poised to become Lexington’s leading venue for uniting life, work, and play in one dynamic and interactive space.
“We’re thrilled to welcome RD1 as an anchor tenant at The Commons,” said Daren Turner, chief executive officer of The Commons. “Their dedication to quality and community aligns perfectly with our vision for this development. RD1 complements our diverse tenants and embodies our mission of ‘Uniting Life, Work, and Play.’ Their innovative approach to bourbon and commitment to creating memorable experiences will undoubtedly enrich The Commons’ ecosystem.”
RD1 has worked closely with several partners on the development of the facility including architectural and design firm Lord Aeck Sargent out of Lexington, and law firm McBrayer and engineering firm VITOK, both out of Louisville.