KY: Diageo to Invest $115M, Build Full-scale Bourbon Distillery | Trade and Industry Development

KY: Diageo to Invest $115M, Build Full-scale Bourbon Distillery

Jun 02, 2014

Governor Steve Beshear announced Diageo (Dee-AH-Gee-O) plans to build a 1.8 million proof gallon distillery in Shelby County. The $115 million investment will create approximately 30 new jobs.

“This is an exciting day for one of Kentucky’s signature industries,” said Gov. Beshear. “The world’s taste for bourbon continues to grow, and Diageo’s new distillery in Shelby County will help satisfy that demand. I look forward to this significant investment and seeing more Kentucky-made product in stores and homes across the globe.”

Diageo plans to build the distillery and six warehouses on Benson Pike in Shelby County. The proposed facility will distill a number of current and future Diageo bourbon and North American whiskey brands. Diageo hopes to receive the necessary approvals in the near future and would like to break ground later this summer with the goal of having the distillery online between July and December 2016.

“This proposed investment in Shelby County, in the heart of Kentucky bourbon country, will cement our commitment to growing our share of the American whiskey category,” said Larry Schwartz, president of Diageo North America. “Diageo has a long tradition within the craft of whiskey-making, and we look forward to bringing this artisanship to the new distillery. The distillery will build on our presence in Kentucky, and we are committed to being a productive member of the local community. We are very thankful for the support we have received thus far from state and local officials and look forward to a long and fruitful working relationship.”

This is the latest in a series of Diageo investments in Kentucky. Earlier this year, the company announced plans to invest $2 million to develop the Stitzel-Weller visitor center in Louisville. Diageo will renovate the original administrative building to bring to life the history of the Stitzel-Weller Distillery through artifacts from the site’s archives.

To encourage the investment and job growth in Shelby County, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives of up to $2.5 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the term of the agreement through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.

KEDFA also approved the company for tax benefits up to $1.5 million through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act, which allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing equipment.

“I’m very excited to hear that Diageo has chosen Shelby County as its Kentucky home, expanding the growing bourbon industry into our community,” said Sen. Paul Hornback, of Shelbyville. “This project will have a tremendous impact on our county in investment, jobs and tourism. I look forward to watching this project come to fruition, and I appreciate the confidence Diageo is showing by locating here.”

“Kentucky’s bourbon industry is known worldwide and, as we’ve seen recently with the expansion of the industry and tourism developments like the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, it is becoming an important economic and marketing tool for the Commonwealth,” said Rep. Brad Montell, of Shelbyville. “I’m pleased that Diageo is joining the other outstanding companies that manufacture bourbon in Kentucky to create jobs and economic growth.”

“This is a significant investment in Shelby County – one that will provide a great boost to our local economy,” said Shelby County Judge-Executive Rob Rothenburger. “I cannot wait to see this facility and what it will mean for our community once it’s operational. I’d like to thank Diageo, Gov. Beshear and his economic development team for their work in helping to make all of this possible.”

Diageo is the world’s leading premium drinks business with an outstanding collection of beverage alcohol brands across spirits, beer and wine. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, Bulleit, George Dickel, Buchanan’s and Bushmills whiskies, Smirnoff, Cîroc and Ketel One vodkas, Baileys, Captain Morgan, Tanqueray, Guinness, Beaulieu Vineyard and Sterling Vineyards Wines.

Diageo is a global company with its products sold in more than 180 countries around the world. The company is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (DGE). For more information about Diageo, its people, brands and performance, visit For a global resource that promotes responsible drinking through the sharing of best practice tools, information and initiatives, visit

Bourbon distilling contributes nearly $2 billion in gross state product each year and has more than doubled its importance to the state’s overall economic activity in the past 13 years. Kentucky exported $383 million of its distilled spirits in 2013, a full 21 percent of the U.S. total.

Shelby County has also been certified by the Kentucky Workforce Investment Board as a Work Ready Certified Community. The certification is an assurance to business and industry that the community is committed to providing the highly skilled workforce required in today’s competitive global economy.

A detailed community profile for Shelby County can be viewed here here.

Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion on Facebook at or follow on Twitter at Watch the Cabinet’s “This is My Kentucky” video on YouTube.

The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development is the primary state agency in Kentucky responsible for encouraging new jobs and investment in the state. New capital investment announced in Kentucky in 2013 totaled more than $3.3 billion, spurring more than 14,000 projected new jobs. Information on available industrial properties, workforce development assistance, incentive programs, community profiles, small business development and other economic development resources is available at

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