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Wild Turkey Bourbon Distillery Visitor Center

Project Information

Located on a bluff overlooking the Kentucky River, the Visitor Center is the newest addition to the Wild Turkey Bourbon Distillery Complex – one of seven original member distilleries of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. The 9,140 sq. ft. facility houses interactive exhibits, a gift shop, event venues, a tasting room, and administrative offices. The buidings' architecture caters both to longtime devoted fans and a growing legion of new bourbon enthusiasts. The project employs a design that is both familiar and new – bridging tradition and innovation through an immersive environment.

With a simple barn silhoutte reminiscient of Kentucky tobacco barns, the building presents a clear and recognizable marker in scale with the landscape. Kolbe Ultra Series beveled direct set windows were chosen to provide a massive view, while incorporating subtle details, as well as a warm atmosphere provided by the wood interior. Kolbe was able to provide customized corner units, mulled and stacked rectangles, as well as triangles and trapezoids that interact with the alternating zones of opaque and light-filtering lattice, which blur the boundaries between indoors and outdoors. By night, the dark structure transforms into a delicate, glowing lantern of filigree perched above the river.

Internally, the building is organized along a ramped, split-level walkway that culminates in an elevated tasting room overlooking the Kentucky River, which is the main water source for the bourbon. In a nod to the nearby bridges spanning the river, a wooden trestle element provides a physical spine from which the various design elements branch out. 

Key building team members:


Featured in:

  • June 2014 issue of Architectural Record magazine
  • 2014 Istanbul Design Biennial
  • Contemporary Space Athens
  • 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial

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