$6.25 million investment announced in August 2022 will create 27 full-time jobs
FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 30, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear joined local officials from Garrard County and leaders from Bluegrass Bottling, a Kentucky-based, woman-owned business, to break ground on the company’s new Lancaster bottling facility, which will create 27 new full-time positions with a $6.25 million investment.
“I’m excited to see so many existing bourbon-related businesses growing and expanding in the commonwealth,” said Gov. Beshear. “To have a Kentucky woman-owned business like Bluegrass Bottling expanding is a big win for the state. This is truly a fantastic project for Garrard County and the surrounding region.”
In August 2022, Bluegrass Bottling announced a 50,000-square-foot bottling facility on a 98-acre site at 51 Poor Ridge Pike in Lancaster, where the company will operate under the name Poor Ridge Distillery. The project will also more than double the company’s storage space to a total of 49,000 square feet.
Bluegrass Bottling operates in both Garrard and Lincoln counties, currently employing around 20 people in the commonwealth and will retain its employment base from its current bottling facility in Lincoln County, where the company will maintain a distribution presence.
“We could not be more proud and excited to be a part of Kentucky’s bourbon industry,” said Lisa Strevels, owner of Bluegrass Bottling. “This investment is vital to our company’s continued growth in the commonwealth, and we look forward to expanding our presence in Lancaster.”
Bluegrass Bottling’s services include blending, proofing, brand development, labeling, private labeling, specialized packaging and designing of spirits brands. Established in 2020, the company provides resources that allow distilleries, small-craft distillers and bourbon enthusiasts to market their products and reach their full potential.
The project builds on recent bourbon and spirits growth across Kentucky. Since the start of the Beshear administration, the commonwealth’s spirits industry has announced more than 80 new-location or expansion projects totaling over $3.1 billion in planned investments and creating more than 1,400 announced full-time jobs for Kentuckians.
Garrard County Judge/Executive Chris T. Elleman thanked the leadership at Bluegrass Bottling for their commitment to the community.
“I would like to thank Bluegrass Bottling for choosing Garrard County as their home to expand and grow their business,” said Judge Elleman. “Lisa and Chris Strevels, the community of Garrard County cannot thank you enough for bringing your business back home. We look forward to working with you all and being part of your growth. The future is bright for Garrard County, and this is a step in the right direction.”
Lancaster Mayor Michael Gaffney showed the city’s excitement for growth and the partnership with Bluegrass Bottling.
“The Mayor’s Office, along with the City Council, are extremely excited about Bluegrass Bottling coming to Garrard County,” said Mayor Gaffney. “We look forward to them being a part of our community and the economic development that it is going to bring. We can’t wait to see what they are able to accomplish over the coming months and years as we grow our partnership to help drive growth and development of Lancaster and Garrard County.”
Lancaster/Garrard County Industrial Development Authority Chairperson David Land spoke on the job opportunities Bluegrass Bottling is bringing to Garrard County.
“The Lancaster/Garrard County Industrial Development Authority is excited to welcome Bluegrass Bottling to Garrard County and our business community,” said Land. “We are grateful to see companies such as this choose to locate here. We believe that they have a lot to add to the community through job opportunities, tourism and feel that they will be an overall asset to the community. These folks have chosen to bring their business back home, and we are pleased to welcome them and look forward to a long and prosperous relationship.”
Bluegrass Bottling’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.
Since the beginning of his administration, Gov. Beshear has announced the creation of 46,300 full-time jobs and nearly 860 private-sector new-location and expansion projects totaling $26 billion in announced investments.
The Governor has now secured the best two-year period in state history for economic growth.
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.
That momentum continued strongly into 2022 with 248 new-location and expansion announcements totaling 16,000 full-time jobs with nearly $10.5 billion in new investment.
The robust job creation has been accompanied by rising wages across the commonwealth. The average incentivized hourly wage in 2022 was $26.78 before benefits, the second-highest mark since 2010 and an 11.5% increase over the previous year.
Gov. Beshear also 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 2022, 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.
Kentucky’s success has been noted by both S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings, which have upgraded the state’s financial outlook to positive in recognition of the commonwealth’s surging economy. On May 12, Gov. Beshear announced that his administration secured the first state-level credit rating upgrade in 13 years and the first-ever such upgrade from Fitch Ratings.
Site Selection magazine placed Kentucky second nationwide and first in the South Central region for its annual Governor’s Cup ranking for 2022, which recognizes state-level economic success based on capital investments.
Gov. Beshear’s administration is projected to post the four highest years of budget surpluses in Kentucky history, and the state’s rainy day fund has a record balance of $2.7 billion.
Gov. Beshear recently announced a new “Supply Kentucky” initiative with the goal of boosting job growth, reducing costs and providing more security in the supply chains of our Kentucky companies.
The Governor also recently announced that Kentucky set the record for the longest period with the lowest unemployment rates in state history. On May 18, Gov. Beshear announced that Kentucky set a new historic low unemployment rate of 3.7%, which is the lowest rate ever recorded in the commonwealth.
To encourage investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in July 2022 preliminarily approved a 15-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can tax incentives based on the company’s investment and annual job and wage targets.
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, Bluegrass Bottling 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 Bluegrass Bottling, visit BluegrassBottling.com.
A detailed community profile for Garrard 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.