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American Outpost, Clermont, Kentucky, Class of 2022 Store of the Year

Updated: Oct 13, 2023

American Outpost has been named the Retail Design Institute’s 2022 Store of the Year!

As part of a multi-phase renovation of its campus, the James B. Beam Distilling Company sought to create an immersive campus tour that would draw in new and returning visitors with an unparalleled program, with the fully immersive American Outpost visitor center being the first stop on the tour. Bergmeyer joined the design team to provide their expertise as the project's architects.

“This project really shifts the dialogue on what keeps retail relevant,” International President, Cynthia Ortiz, RDI commented. Under the direction of their creative partner, LOVE, the Bergmeyer team worked to meet the goals and expectations of the JBBDCo which were to improve existing operations and environmental conditions, introduce its brand and bourbon to new generations of prospective bourbon lovers, make a home for its family of American whiskies under one roof, and create an innovative visitor experience that encourages guests to make this a repeat experience for years to come.

In accepting the Store of the Year award, Catherine Keywan, Senior Interior Designer at Bergmeyer, thanked the entire team behind the project and at Bergmeyer and detailed all of the fun and exciting elements that can be experienced when visiting the JBBDco campus in Clermont, KY.

(Photography by Luke Hayes, London, UK)

This two-story visitor center features a retail program for JBBDCo's full suite of bourbons. Housing an interactive retail experience, the American Outpost offers custom capabilities such as personalized gifts, brand apparel, and a newly designed tasting experience that educates guests about the Beam family's extensive bourbon history. Visitors are invited to learn about the Beam family and how JBBDCo bourbon is made, walking in the footsteps of eight generations of Beam Family Master Distillers.

The space combines a warm, welcoming mid-century American home with raw industrial distillery vernacular. It was designed to be a highly flexible modern retail concept that can be easily reconfigured to experiment with new visual merchandising concepts and tasting experiences.

The new materiality and fixturing within the American Outpost renovation were designed to emphasize the story of JBBDCo further and unify the campus. The wood for the new wall cladding was sourced from old ricks that once graced the campus. The retail fixtures mirror furniture pieces in the Beam family homestead. Thoughtful design elements, such as the photo booth that shares guests' images on a two-story gallery wall collection of digital screens alongside historic Beam photos, welcome guests to become part of the family.

The judges were all in agreement that "this project hits all the right buttons... brand storytelling, customer engagement, elevated experience at every turn," a sentiment expressed by volunteer judge Sharon Lessard, RDI during the review process.

In addition to its distinction as 2022 Store of the Year, judges also bestowed two Innovation Awards on American Outpost for Branding and Technology & Digital Integration, respectively.

Serving as judges this year were Professional Members of the Institute representing various chapters including:

  • Daniel Montaño, RDI, Little Diversified Architectural Consulting, Carolinas City Center

  • Renato Fregnani, RDI, AQUADRADO, Brazil Chapter

  • Sharon Lessard, RDI, Ensemble Business Group, New York Chapter

  • Aya Matsumoto, RDI, AMAT Architecture, New York Chapter

  • Tobi Wray, RDI, Design Well Spent, Pacific Northwest Chapter

  • Michael Donohue, RDI, Ensemble Business Group, Southern California Chapter

Serving as Chairman of the judging panel this year was James Farnell, FRDI, Little Diversified Architectural Consulting, Southern California Chapter.

Thank you to all who participated in the 52nd International Design Competition and to James and our panel of judges!


In addition to American Outpost, the Retail Design Institute would like to congratulate the Class of 2022, representing the best of the best in retail stores and experiences completed between January 1st and December 31st, 2022:

Sage & Sound

New York


El Palacio de Hierro Coyoacán


TPG Architecture

High Street Place



Miller & Lux

New York

MBH Architects

Innovation Award: Finishes & Materiality


San Marcos

Arcadis Inc.

Innovation Award: Wayfinding & Environmental Graphics

Bentonville Nature Near Pavilion

Virtual, Bentonville

NELSON Worldwide

Innovation Awards: Unbuilt Conceptual Design

Victoria's Secret Bombshell Gardens

New York

MG2/Lionesque Group

Central Park

North York

II BY IV Design



Dalziel & Pow Design Consultants

Innovation Award: Fixturing

Clyde & Grain



Innovation Award: Wayfinding & Environmental Graphics

Greenwich St. Jewelers

New York

MAOarch Architecture D.P.C.

Innovation Award: Customer Journey

Johnny Cupcakes



Innovation Awards: Visual Merchandising and Conceptual Design


New York

Heitler Houstoun Architects, PC

Innovation Award: Lighting


New York




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