FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 6, 2022) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear highlighted continued growth of the state’s bourbon and distillery industry with the announcement of Augusta Distillery LLC’s new operation in Bracken County, a $23 million investment that will create 14 quality jobs for Kentucky residents.
“It is never an accident when a company decides to grow their operations within Kentucky,” said Gov. Beshear. “It is a testament to the Kentuckians who help make this state what it is – an increasingly attractive option for businesses to thrive within a surging economy. The continued momentum of the bourbon and spirits industry in the commonwealth is because of support from companies such as Augusta Distillery. I want to thank everyone involved in this project and welcome Augusta Distillery’s growth in Kentucky.”
Augusta Distillery’s first full-scale operation in the commonwealth will locate in an existing 40,000-square-foot building – formerly home to the F.A. Neider Co. – on 1.8 acres. Company leaders anticipate construction will begin this summer with the facility operational by summer 2024.
“The Augusta Distillery team is proud of our plan to build a state-of-the-art facility in Augusta,” said Judd Weis, co-founder and board vice chairman of Augusta Distillery. “Over the next few years, we will be committing over $23 million to create an extraordinary distillery, guest experience and event center. Our hope is that, by delighting our consumers, this investment will create a spike in local tourism and additional economic opportunity for our neighbors in Augusta and Bracken County. We would like to thank the Commonwealth of Kentucky, City of Augusta and Bracken County for providing the support necessary to make this project a reality. This is a very exciting time for our team and our neighbors.”
Headquartered in Augusta, Kentucky, Augusta Distillery was founded in July 2018 and is focused on creating authentic, curated bourbon-centric experiences in Augusta and across the United States. The company’s initial brand expression, Buckner’s 13-year single barrel cask strength bourbon, is distributed nationally and is available at retail in Kentucky and Ohio. Recently added as a Craft Member of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, Augusta Distillery is planning its next release for later in 2022.
The bourbon and spirits 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.
Rep. William Lawerence noted the importance of growing companies like Augusta Distillery in Kentucky.
“I’m thrilled by what Augusta Distillery has planned and will bring to the region,” Rep. Lawerence said. “As a co-sponsor for HB 500, which is now state law, I know how much positive impact this distillery project will bring. I will continue to support Augusta Distillery and the people of Bracken and Mason counties.”
Bracken County Judge/Executive Tina Teegarden said she looks forward to seeing the company and community grow together.
“Economic development and building tourism within the communities of our county are vital,” said Judge/Executive Teegarden. “We are pleased that the partners of the Augusta Distillery chose our beautiful river town, Augusta, to build and develop. I believe their growth and success will be immediate and I look forward to watching their new endeavor thrive along with all of Bracken County.”
Augusta Mayor Michael Taylor said he is thrilled to continue the momentum within the community with the addition of Augusta Distillery.
“Augusta’s tourism continues to grow as we emerge from the pandemic,” said Taylor. “The river, our history and quaint town center are the perfect place to spend a day or night. The Beehive Augusta Tavern on the riverbank and the newly renovated, 10-room Augusta Guest House are proof that things are happening in Augusta. We congratulate Augusta Distillery and are thrilled to have them in town!”
Augusta Distillery’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 year, 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.
Last 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 investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) on Thursday preliminarily approved Augusta Distillery for up to $200,000 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, Augusta Distillery 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 Augusta Distillery, visit augustakydistillery.com.
A detailed community profile for Bracken 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.