Food & Agriculture Related

KY: Brown-Forman to Invest $35M to Expand Woodford Reserve Distillery

1 Jul, 2013

Governor Steve Beshear announced Brown-Forman Corporation plans to add 15 jobs and invest more than $35 million to expand operations at its Woodford Reserve Distillery in Versailles.

“We’re proud of Brown-Forman’s rich heritage at the Woodford Reserve Distillery, which is an integral part of Kentucky’s world famous bourbon industry,” said Gov. Beshear. “This expansion, including 15 new jobs and more than $35 million in investment, will help grow sales and exports for a Kentucky product that is increasingly in demand across the globe.”

Kentucky produces 95 percent of the world’s bourbon, and the 4.9 million barrels of aging bourbon here outnumber the state’s population of 4.3 million. More than 8,600 jobs in Kentucky are connected to distillery-related enterprise, generating approximately $413 million in payroll.

The Woodford Reserve Distillery, located off McCracken Pike in Versailles, currently has 30 full-time employees. The expansion will include the addition of new bourbon maturation warehouses, new stills, improvements to the bottling line, and other upgrades designed to increase capacity, efficiency, and productivity at the facility.

“As a 142-year-old Kentucky company, Brown-Forman is proud to expand the Woodford Reserve Distillery, allowing us to meet the growing global demand for Woodford Reserve and continue to invest in our community,” said Chris Morris, master distiller at Woodford Reserve.

In addition to Woodford Reserve, Brown-Forman Corporation produces numerous quality brands, including Jack Daniel’s, Southern Comfort, Finlandia, Herradura, Early Times, and Old Forester. The company was founded in 1870 by George Garvin Brown in Louisville, Kentucky. Today, the company is headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, and employs nearly 4,000 people worldwide.

To encourage the investment and job growth in Versailles, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives 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 Brown-Forman for tax benefits up to $500,000 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.

“Woodford Reserve’s expansion in Versailles, adding 15 additional jobs, is great news,” said Sen. Julian M. Carroll, of Frankfort. “The company’s more than $35 million investment will allow Versailles and Woodford County to keep reaping the rewards of good jobs, as well as to continue to stimulate the economic growth and development of our area. I am proud to have Woodford Reserve in Versailles and in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and am pleased with the company’s continued success. I applaud Gov. Beshear for taking the lead in supporting the expansion of our good corporate friend.”

“We are very excited Brown-Forman decided to expand its Woodford Reserve operations in our community,” said Versailles Mayor Fred Siegelman. “The beauty of this distillery, along with its rich history, continues to attract many tourists to Kentucky and Versailles. We are grateful for the assistance provided by Gov. Beshear, the team at the Cabinet for Economic Development and the Woodford Economic Development Authority. Thank you Brown-Forman.”

“We want to congratulate Brown-Forman and Woodford Reserve for their continued commitment and contributions to Woodford County,” said Woodford County Judge-Executive John Coyle. “This expansion not only brings new jobs to our community, but also increases the tax base, which allows us to better serve our citizens. Thank you to Gov. Beshear, the Cabinet for Economic Development, and the Woodford Economic Development Authority, who guided this project through completion.”

For more information on Brown-Forman, visit

Woodford 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.

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

A detailed community profile for Versailles (Woodford County) can be viewed at

The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development is the primary state agency in Kentucky responsible for creating new jobs and new investment in the state. New business investment in Kentucky in 2012 totaled nearly $2.7 billion with the creation of more than 14,000 new jobs. Information on available development sites, workforce training,incentive programs, community profiles, small business development and other resources is available at