Gov. Steve Beshear and Mayor Greg Fischer joined company officials to break ground on the Brown-Forman Corporation Old Forester Distillery in downtown Louisville. Brown-Forman is expected to create up to 20 new jobs and invest approximately $30 million into the project.
“The Kentucky Bourbon industry has nearly doubled its workforce, tripled its number of distilleries, and set new modern records for exports and barrel inventories,” said Gov. Beshear. “Bourbon is truly one of Kentucky’s signature industries, and Old Forester is one of our many major brands. I want to congratulate Brown-Forman as an outstanding corporate partner and for investing in the Louisville economy and bringing back the heritage of Whiskey Row. This is a win-win for the Commonwealth.”
“Old Forester’s return to West Main Street will give bourbon lovers around the world another reason to visit Louisville,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said. “It will help us display our hospitality, great restaurant and art scene and of course, introduce what we call Bourbonism - a vital part of our food and beverage economic development strategy.”
Brown-Forman will open a distillery and bourbon experience for its founding brand, Old Forester, in two historic buildings at 117 and 119 Main St. in Louisville. The combined buildings have approximately 55,000 square feet with 52 linear feet facing Main Street.
The investment will include renovating the buildings and purchasing equipment. The new distillery will be able to distill 100,000 cases of bourbon annually with additional production capabilities at the Brown-Forman distillery located at 2921 Dixie Highway in Louisville.
In addition to production, the distillery also will serve as a home place for the Old Forester brand. The facility will be open to tours and feature a tasting room, exhibits, bourbon-making demonstrations and event spaces.
“From barrel making to bottling, this facility will showcase the process and pride that goes into making every bottle of Old Forester bourbon” said Campbell Brown, fifth generation Brown descendant and president of Old Forester. “Bringing our founding brand back to the site where it first began, is cause for celebration at Brown-Forman for both our employees and my family but it's also a dedicated investment into this region that we hope will drive great tourism interest to the community.”
In addition to Old Forester, Brown-Forman Corporation produces numerous quality brands, including Jack Daniel’s, Southern Comfort, Finlandia, Herradura, Early Times and Woodford Reserve. The company was founded in 1870 by George Garvin Brown in Louisville. Today, the company is still headquartered in Louisville and employs nearly 4,200 people worldwide.
Kentucky produces 95 percent of the world’s bourbon, and the more than 5.6 million barrels of aging bourbon here outnumber the state’s population of 4.4 million. More than 15,400 jobs in Kentucky are connected to distillery-related enterprise, generating approximately $707 million in payroll, according to the Kentucky Distiller’s Association.
“Bourbon is a signature industry of Kentucky and it is only fitting that Old Forester be a part of Louisville’s Whiskey Row,” said Sen. Gerald Neal, of Louisville. “This investment by Brown-Forman speaks highly of our workforce and our city. This company has proven to be a good corporate neighbor and I wish them continued success.”
“This ground-breaking is another major milestone for a community that has done so much to preserve and promote the state’s bourbon industry,” said state Rep. Darryl Owens, of Louisville. “I’m certainly pleased to see Brown-Forman take this step and invest even more here, and I appreciate the hard work done by Gov. Beshear, his administration and our local leaders to help make this possible.”
To encourage the investment and job growth in Louisville, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $900,000 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 Brown-Forman for tax benefits up to $410,000 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.
In addition, Brown-Forman is eligible to receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies are eligible to receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives. Last year, the Kentucky Skills Network trained more than 84,000 employees from more than 4,100 Kentucky companies.
For more information on Brown-Forman, visit www.brown-forman.com.
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The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development is the primary state agency responsible for encouraging new jobs and investment in the state. New capital investment announced in Kentucky in 2014 totaled a state record $3.7 billion, spurring more than 15,000 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 www.ThinkKentucky.com.