A Fine-Crafted Partnership: Maker’s Mark, KU Announce Bright Plans for New Solar Array
New system will offset the energy needs to maintain bourbon rickhouses

(LEXINGTON, Ky.) – Kentucky Utilities Company and Maker’s Mark are announcing a new partnership through the utility’s Business Solar Program to construct a new solar array at the bourbon distillery’s property in Loretto, Ky., along Highway 52.

Without compromising any part of the unique Maker’s Mark® production process that makes its bourbon so distinctive, the new ground-mounted solar panel system will offset the energy needs required to maintain rickhouses where bourbon is stored for aging. This includes energy for security, lighting, barrel elevators and office spaces.

“My grandparents’ vision when they created Maker’s Mark® was not only that it might elevate the bourbon category, but also that we would constantly look for meaningful ways to give back to the community,” said Maker’s Mark Chief Distillery Officer and eighth-generation distiller Rob Samuels. “This partnership with KU to offset our energy use in the rickhouses fits that vision perfectly, matching up with our ever-increasing sensitivity about our place in the environment and the responsible use of natural resources.”

The new solar array will be made up of about 560 photo-voltaic panels and is expected to produce about 268,000 kilowatt-hours per year. Based on the current project timeline, construction will begin in early fall, with the solar array operational before the end of 2019.

“We’re proud that, together with our customers, we’re gaining momentum and further deepening our solar energy roots here in Kentucky,” said Beth McFarland, LG&E and KU vice president–Customer Services. “Much like its signature hand-dipped wax bottle, Maker’s Mark is sealing its position as an industry leader and making a resounding commitment to sustainability. Travelers from all over the world visiting Loretto and the iconic distillery will now see Kentucky sunlight in action as well.”

Paving the way

KU and sister utility Louisville Gas and Electric Company first launched the Business Solar Program in 2016 for customers like Maker’s Mark who are taking the lead to adopt more renewable energy within their portfolio and propelling new solar energy growth for Kentucky by keeping it local.

The program, part of the utilities’ Green Tariff, empowers commercial and industrial customers to accomplish solar energy goals, without being burdened by the logistics of managing a system.

This ideal 25-year partnership is a first of its kind for KU and allows the utility to build, own and maintain the solar array on behalf of Maker’s Mark; in turn, the company pays a monthly fee and earns bill credits for the energy produced by the system. Each customized project is subject to approval by the Kentucky Public Service Commission, which was gained for this project this August.  

Maker’s Mark is among those customers taking advantage of utilities’ growing renewables portfolio and customer offerings. Others include Ford Motor Company, first founding member of the utilities’ Solar Share Facility in Shelby County; the Archdiocese of Louisville, LG&E’s first Business Solar partner and first diocesan-based array in the greater Kentucky region; and Yum! Brands, the first to host EV charging stations offered by the utilities at its Louisville campus for employees.

Visit lge-ku.com/solar to learn more about all of these customer programs and what the utilities are doing to help grow renewable energy in Kentucky.




LG&E and KU

Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities Company, part of the PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL) family of companies, are regulated utilities that serve nearly 1.3 million customers and have consistently ranked among the best companies for customer service in the United States. LG&E serves 328,000 natural gas and 414,000 electric customers in Louisville and 16 surrounding counties. KU serves 555,000 customers in 77 Kentucky counties and five counties in Virginia. More information is available at www.lge-ku.com and www.pplweb.com.

About Maker’s Mark® Bourbon

In 1953, in Loretto, Kentucky, Bill Samuels, Sr. fulfilled his dream to create a handmade and delicious bourbon. He decided to make his whisky in small batches, using soft red winter wheat, with a proprietary barrel char to enhance the softness and sweetness. He then rotated each barrel by hand for consistency, and finally, aged each barrel to taste. Bill Samuels, Sr. transformed bourbon from a “commodity” into a premium handmade spirit, and today Maker’s Mark continues to make its bourbon exactly the same way. In recent years, Maker’s Mark has introduced thoughtful, super-premium innovations to its portfolio including Maker’s Mark 46™, Maker’s Mark® Cask Strength and Maker’s Mark Private Select®, the brand’s first-ever custom barrel program.

In 1980, the Maker’s Mark distillery became the first distillery in America to be designated a National Historic Landmark and has also been decreed as the "world’s oldest operating bourbon whisky distillery” by Guinness World Records. It remains one of the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s most popular tourist destinations, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. For more information, please visit www.makersmark.com.


Maker's Mark®, Maker’s Mark® Cask Strength and Maker's Mark 46™ Bourbon Whisky, 45-57% Alc./Vol.

©2019 Maker's Mark Distillery, Inc., Loretto, KY. All trademarks are the property of their respective owner.

For further information: LG&E and KU Media Line Phone: 502-627-4999 Maker’s Mark Bob Lauder VP/Management Supervisor, PR Doe-Anderson, Inc. Office: 502-815-3367 Mobile: 502-403-9976