Rabbit Hole will open in 2017 in NuLu. | Courtesy of Rabbit Hole Distilling

Rabbit Hole will open in 2017 in NuLu. | Courtesy of Rabbit Hole Distilling

NuLu is typically abuzz with people walking to and from lunch, business meetings and gallery hopping, but on Thursday afternoon, there was more traffic than usual. The parking lot next to the Green Building was packed with city officials, bourbon enthusiasts and media eager to welcome Rabbit Hole Distilling to the neighborhood.

Rabbit Hole founder Kaveh Zamanian took the podium first and thanked the city, the mayor, his investors and his team for backing such a massive undertaking, which four years ago was merely an idea. He said most of the money raised came locally, which is a testament to the spirit of the city.

“Bourbon is more than a drink,” he said. “It’s a call to action.”

Colleen Thomas from the Kentucky Distillers’ Association then spoke about the importance of craft distilleries like Rabbit Hole, and stated that bourbon is now a $3 billion industry. There are 6.7 million barrels currently aging in Kentucky, she said, the largest amount since 1974.

Mayor Greg Fischer commended Zamanian and his team for taking on a unique project that’ll connect Market and Jefferson streets and further enhance the NuLu experience.

“We are just scratching the surface of bourbon tourism,” said Fischer, noting there are 23 hotels either being built or planned right now.

Insider spoke with Zamanian earlier this week about his anticipation for the distillery and the products, but here is a look at what went down at Thursday’s groundbreaking ceremony.