Media Release

America’s Oldest Distillery Picks Penetron for Long-Lasting Concrete Protection for Historic Warehouse


Completed by January 2023, the expansion of the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Franklin, Kentucky, provides the owner-family with expanded production capacity, an upgraded visitor center, and waterproof foundation structures – thanks to Penetron’s crystalline concrete waterproofing technology.

In the landscape of a whiskey market dominated by a handful of large conglomerates, the Buffalo Trace Distillery stands out. A domestic, family-owned company based in Frankfort, Kentucky, the Buffalo Trace Distillery has a rich tradition dating back to 1775, making it the oldest continuously operating distillery in America today. During Prohibition, the distillery was even permitted to make whiskey for "medicinal purposes."

With names like Van Winkle, Weller, E.H. Taylor and Blanton’s, the Buffalo Trace Distillery produces some of the most sought-after bottles on the planet, and we haven’t even mentioned the coveted Antique Collection and O.F.C. Vintage releases. And beyond the high-end names, the distillery’s humbler main market brands – Buffalo Trace and Eagle Rare – have also earned countless awards.

Still located at its original site on the banks of the Kentucky River, the Buffalo Trace Distillery is a fully operational distillery producing bourbon, rye and vodka, and is a National Historic Landmark and is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Recently, the distillery completed a $1.2 billion expansion, including the addition of 14 new barrel warehouses, 12 additional fermenters, additional cookers, a new cooling system, and a much larger visitor center. By the end of 2022, the new dry house, hammer mill, an additional still house and wastewater treatment plant will be operational.

Because of the distillery’s location on the Kentucky River, sporadic flooding of older buildings occurred over the years. During the planning phase of the newly completed expansion project, imi, the project’s concrete ready-mix supplier, asked Penetron to provide an effective – and long-lasting – waterproofing solution for the renovation of the foundation structures of a key barrel warehouse that was prone to flooding.

“Because of the proximity of the river and the high groundwater levels present at the Franklin, Kentucky, construction site, a reliable and permanent waterproofing solution was a top priority,” explains Christopher Chen, Director of The Penetron Group. “Penetron’s crystalline technology was specified thanks to the success of similar Penetron waterproofing projects in the region and our collaboration with imi, a national ready-mix concrete supplier.”

PENETRON ADMIX SB, a crystalline waterproofing admixture, was added to 1,400 yds3 of concrete to protect the sump pit, foundation slab, foundation walls and certain parts of the slab-on-grade of the renovated warehouse. The Buffalo Trace warehouse’s concrete structures are now resistant to concrete deterioration caused by water penetration and corrosion, while withstanding water from a flooding river, and hydrostatic pressure from the groundwater.

“Added to concrete in pre-measured soluble bags during batching and unaffected by climatic conditions, PENETRON ADMIX SB significantly increases the durability and service life of concrete,” explains Christopher Chen. “Thanks to the non-soluble crystalline network that forms throughout the pores and capillary tracts of the concrete, the treated structure now has the ability to self-heal and seal any micro-cracks, pores and capillaries that may occur in the future, minimizing the need for future concrete repairs.”

Penetron’s crystalline technology was specified to protect the new concrete structures.

New home for Buffalo Trace Distillery evaporator: Due to proximity to the river and high groundwater levels, Penetron’s crystalline technology was specified to protect the new concrete structures.

Previously prone to flooding, the concrete foundation structures of the new Buffalo Trace Distillery warehouse were secured with a Penetron waterproofing solution.

New Dry House now impermeable: Previously prone to flooding, the concrete foundation structures of the new Buffalo Trace Distillery warehouse were secured with a Penetron waterproofing solution.

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