NEW HAVEN, Ky. (Sept. 13, 2022) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear joined local leaders and executives from Log Still Distillery to cut the ribbon on the Nelson County operation’s full-scale opening, including a more than $60 million investment and creation of at least 146 full-time jobs.
“I’m very happy to have the opportunity to once again join leaders at Log Still Distillery as we celebrate the next major step forward for this quickly growing operation,” Gov. Beshear said. “Our bourbon industry is growing at an incredible rate, and companies like Log Still are helping to drive that growth. This is a tremendous project for Nelson County and the surrounding region, and I look forward to watching the company grow in our state.”
Now fully operational, the distillery produces a range of spirits, including Monk’s Road Dry Gin, Monk’s Road Barrel Finished Gin and Monk’s Road Fifth District Series Bourbon: Cold Spring Distillery, the first in a rotating series of bourbons named for historic pre-Prohibition distillers in the region, in addition to its latest release, the Rattle & Snap brands. Additional products are expected to be added in the coming months, such as Monk’s Road Bourbon with a wheated mash bill. New jobs being created across both phases of the project include distillery and bottling operations, hospitality, event operations and restaurant positions. To date, the company has filled 72 of the announced full-time jobs, as well as 14 part-time positions and 229 seasonal roles.
Log Still leadership in early 2021 announced a $24 million Phase 2 investment to establish Dant Crossing, a 300-plus-acre campus that is home to the distillery and several amenities. The commitment followed a Phase 1 investment of $12 million made public in 2019 to establish the operation at the historic site.
“We are pleased with the reception by Kentuckians and visitors alike to the experiences we have created here in Gethsemane,” said Log Still President J.W. “Wally” Dant III. “Thanks very much to the Governor and his administration for supporting our campus-wide efforts and for championing the Kentucky bourbon industry like no other previous administration.”
Log Still’s first amenities debuted in 2021 with the opening of the Homestead Bed & Breakfast and the Poplar Cottage rentals, followed by an amphitheater and train depot. In May 2021, Gov. Beshear joined leadership at the startup distillery on Dee Head Road in southern Nelson County to unveil the company’s tasting room and debut of its initial product line.
Log Still’s continued growth furthers recent bourbon and spirits growth across Kentucky. Since the start of the Beshear administration, the commonwealth’s spirits industry has announced nearly 60 new-location or expansion projects totaling $1.4 billion in planned investments and creating more than 1,100 announced full-time jobs. Currently, approximately 60 spirits facilities directly employ more than 5,300 people.
Kentucky Tourism, Arts & Heritage Secretary Mike Berry noted the distillery’s role as a driver of economic and tourism growth.
“Bourbon is a signature industry in the commonwealth and plays an important role in job creation, economic growth and promoting travel,” Sec. Berry said. “Log Still Distillery will offer visitors the unique opportunity to learn about bourbon's rich history while providing unforgettable experiences.”
Nelson County Judge/Executive Nicky Rapier thanked company leaders for their commitment to the community.
“We congratulate the Dant family on the opening of Log Still Distillery and are proud to have them join the rich history of Nelson County distilleries,” Judge Rapier said. “The family has brought a considerable investment to southern Nelson County, and we look forward to a long-term relationship with them.”
Kim Huston, president of the Nelson County Economic Development Agency, looks forward to a long partnership with the distillery.
“The opening of Log Still Distillery continues the economic momentum that the Dant family has started in Nelson County,” Huston said. “The distillery will be the heartbeat of their ever-expanding bourbon tourism destination and I look forward to celebrating with them for years to come.”
Sen. Jimmy Higdon of Lebanon welcomed the new operation.
“I want to congratulate the Dant family, which has a rich history in the bourbon industry,” Sen. Higdon said. “The family has quite a legacy, and I am excited to see how Wally, Lynne and Charles continue to honor it with an operation all their own.
“I consider myself most fortunate to be able to say I represent the world’s bourbon capital. Log Still Distillery at Dant Crossing will make Kentucky’s bourbon industry even better and will do a lot of good for the residents of Nelson County and the 14th Senate district. I look forward to seeing the jobs Log Still Distillery provides, as well as the one-of-a-kind experience it offers.”
Log Still’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.
In 2021, 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 the past year, the Beshear administration announced the two largest economic development projects in state history. In September 2021, Gov. Beshear and leaders from Ford Motor Co. and SK Innovation celebrated a transformative $5.8 billion investment that will create 5,000 jobs in Hardin County. And in April of this year, the Governor was joined by leadership at Envision AESC to announce a $2 billion investment that will create 2,000 jobs in Warren County. These announcements solidify Kentucky as the EV battery production capital of the United States.
The economic momentum has carried strongly into 2022, with both S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings upgrading Kentucky’s financial outlook to positive in recognition of the commonwealth’s surging economy.
And Site Selection magazine placed Kentucky at 6th in its annual Prosperity Cup rankings for 2022, which recognizes state-level economic success based on capital investments.
Kentucky has posted record low unemployment rates for four consecutive months, falling from 3.9% in April to 3.8% in May and 3.7% in June and July.
In July, the Governor reported the highest annual growth rate in 31 years. And for the second year in a row, Kentucky’s General Fund budget surplus has exceeded $1 billion. Also in July, Gov. Beshear reported that the state’s rainy day fund is up to a record balance of $2.7 billion, significantly higher than the $129 million balance the fund had when the Governor took office.
In September, Kentucky reported August 2022 General Fund receipts hit an unprecedented high for any August on record, marking 21 straight months of growing revenues for the state.
Upon the recommendation of the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, Log Still Distillery received approval from the Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority for incentives through the Tourism Development Act. Eligible businesses receive an annual reimbursement for taxes paid on qualifying tourism development projects admission tickets, food and gift sales and lodging costs. Log Still Distillery will receive a tax incentive totaling $6 million for its Phase 2 tourism expansion.
To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in May 2019 preliminarily approved a 10-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $500,000 in tax incentives based on the company’s Phase 1 investment of $12 million and annual targets of:
Creation and maintenance of 20 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 10 years; and
Paying an average hourly wage of $26 including benefits across those jobs.
KEDFA in May 2019 approved Log Still for up to $100,000 in tax incentives through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA) based on the company’s Phase 1 investment of $12 million. In March 2021, KEDFA approved the company for up to $500,000 in tax incentives through KEIA based on the company’s Phase 2 investment of $24 million. 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.
In addition, the company 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 Log Still Distillery, visit LogStillDistillery.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.