Project to increase distillery’s annual capacity by 55,000 barrels
FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 31, 2022) – Kentucky’s bourbon and spirits industry continues to thrive as today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced the expansion of Bardstown Bourbon Co.’s distillery in Nelson County, a $28.7 million investment creating 29 full-time jobs and increasing the operation’s annual capacity by approximately 55,000 barrels.
“Kentucky is continuing its unbelievable economic momentum because of businesses constantly looking to expand and improve their services here in the commonwealth,” Gov. Beshear said. “I appreciate Bardstown Bourbon Co.’s continued commitment to the state, its workforce and the bourbon and spirits industry. I greatly look forward to seeing the company’s future success.”
The project will include an expansion of over 15,000 square feet to the existing distillery, bringing the total square-footage of the facility to over 390,000. The operation will add space to one of the fermenter buildings, 16 new fermenters, a new distillation column and necessary equipment to accompany it, a hot water processing tank, grain handling equipment, chemical treatments and glass towers to hold the still that will be seen from the parkway.
“The commonwealth’s investment in Bardstown Bourbon Co. will help us increase our distilling capacity by 50% by 2024, creating a number of new high-paying jobs and helping small Kentucky-based bourbon brands grow,” said Mark Erwin, the company’s president and CEO. “We are truly grateful for the support of these incentives in helping solidify Bardstown as the ‘Bourbon Capital of the World.’”
The Bardstown Bourbon Co., founded in 2014, is one of America’s largest new distilleries. The company started commercial production in September 2016 and produces whiskey, bourbon and rye for its own brands as well as for their Collaborative Distilling Program partners. Its campus is a first-of-its-kind Napa Valley-style building featuring a state-of-the-art whiskey distillery that has been expanded to quadruple production since its opening. The company has added a unique and transparent educational experience, integrated visitor center, event space, whiskey library, bar and restaurant. Currently, Bardstown Bourbon Co. employs over 150 Kentucky residents.
The bourbon and spirit industry remains one of Kentucky’s most prominent sectors. Today, roughly 60 spirits facilities employ more than 5,300 people. Since the start of 2020, Kentucky’s spirits industry has seen more than 40 new-location or expansion announcements with over $698 million in planned investments and approximately 600 announced full-time jobs.
Nelson County Judge/Executive Dean Watts is thrilled about the company’s continued expansion and growth in the region.
“Bardstown Bourbon Co. continues to make history here in Nelson County with aggressive expansions beyond our expectations,” Judge/Executive Watts said. “We thank the company for their tremendous investment and wish them much continued success.”
Bardstown Bourbon Co.’s investment and planned job creation furthers recent economic momentum in the commonwealth as the state builds back stronger from the effects of the pandemic.
Earlier this month, Site Selection magazine’s annual Governor’s Cup rankings for 2021 placed Kentucky atop the South-Central region, and third nationally, for qualifying projects per capita.
Gov. Beshear recently announced that on Jan. 28, S&P Global Ratings revised Kentucky’s financial outlook to positive from stable and affirmed its “A-” credit rating. S&P cited a reduced reliance on one-time items to balance the budget and a higher balance in the state’s rainy-day fund as primary factors influencing the change.
That follows a 2021 year during which the commonwealth shattered every economic development record in the books. Private-sector new-location and expansion announcements included a record $11.2 billion in total planned investment and commitments to create a record 18,000-plus full-time jobs across the coming years. Kentucky’s average incentivized hourly wage for projects statewide in 2021 was $24 before benefits, a 9.4% increase over the previous year.
In September, Gov. Beshear, Ford Motor Co. Executive Chair Bill Ford, CEO Jim Farley and Dong-Seob Jee, president of SK Innovation’s battery business, announced the single largest economic development project in the history of the commonwealth, celebrating a transformative $5.8 billion investment that will create 5,000 jobs and places Kentucky at the forefront of the automotive industry’s future.
Kentucky also saw an all-time, record-setting budget surplus in fiscal year 2021 and entered 2022 with an estimated $1.9 billion more than budgeted.
To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) on Thursday preliminarily approved a 10-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $750,000 in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of $28.7 million and annual targets of:
- Creation and maintenance of 29 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 10 years; and
- Paying an average hourly wage of $38.08 including benefits across those jobs.
Additionally, KEDFA approved Bardstown Bourbon Co. for up to $250,000 in tax incentives through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA). KEIA allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing.
By meeting its annual targets over the agreement term, the company can be eligible to keep a portion of the new tax revenue it generates. The company may claim eligible incentives against its income tax liability and/or wage assessments.
In addition, Bardstown Bourbon Co. can receive resources from Kentucky’s workforce service providers. Those include no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job-training incentives.
For more information on Bardstown Bourbon Co., visit bardstownbourbon.com.
A detailed community profile for Nelson County can be viewed here.
Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at CED.ky.gov. Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion at facebook.com/CEDkygov, on Twitter @CEDkygov, Instagram @CEDkygov and LinkedIn.
Read about other key updates, actions and information from Gov. Beshear and his administration at governor.ky.gov, kycovid19.ky.gov and the Governor’s official social media accounts Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.