West Fork Whiskey Co., an Indianapolis-based craft whiskey distillery, announced plans to expand its operations in central Indiana, building a state-of-the-art agritourism facility in Westfield. To support its growth, the company plans to create up to 52 new jobs by the end of 2024.
"Agritourism is a vital part of Indiana’s economy, contributing to a sector that provides more than $31 billion annually to our state,” said Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch. “With the support of companies like West Fork Whiskey Co., Indiana will continue to attract new visitors and build on its reputation as a vibrant place to live, work and play. We’re grateful that West Fork Whiskey Co. is choosing to grow its operations in central Indiana, launching a premier agritourism destination and creating even more career opportunities for Hoosiers."
West Fork Whiskey Co. will invest $10 million to construct and equip a 35,000-square-foot facility on the northeast corner of 191 Street and Horton Road in Westfield. The new agritourism destination, which will sit on a 12-acre site across from Grand Park, will feature a 5,000-square-foot event center, retail space, a 4,000-square-foot restaurant with a cocktail lounge, a speakeasy, as well as additional production and aging space. To celebrate Indiana’s culture and its people, the company's restaurant will highlight Hoosier agriculture, flavors and artisanal products.
Pending local and zoning approval, the first phase of the project is expected to break ground in 2021, with potential for additional outdoor amenities along with more acreage in future phases. To support its Westfield expansion, the company, which has 12 employees in Indiana, will begin hiring in spring 2021 for positions to support all aspects of their business from hospitality to marketing.
“We’re looking to change the regional and national perception of Indiana as a whiskey producing state while creating an approachable and interactive experience,“ said Blake Jones, co-founder of West Fork Whiskey Co. “This project is an incredible opportunity for our team to provide visitors a complete whiskey experience beyond our downtown tasting room, which will include facility tours, tasting classes, and a variety of educational components.”
Founded in 2015 by Jones, and fellow Indiana natives David McIntyre and Julian Jones, West Fork Whiskey Co. distills and produces high-quality craft whiskeys using 100% Indiana ingredients. In 2019, the company resurrected the historic Indiana whiskey brand, Old Hamer, followed by releasing its signature Cold Hamer cocktails, the Highball and Snapback, making it the only Indiana-based distillery to offer bourbon canned cocktails.
“We built Grand Park to create a commercial tax base and when companies, like West Fork, decide to invest here, it shows this strategy is working for our city,” said Westfield Mayor Andy Cook. “We want innovative and community-minded companies, like West Fork, to bring their energy to Westfield. I am excited that they want to grow roots here.”
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) offered West Fork Whiskey Co. up to $450,000 in conditional tax credits based on the company's job creation plans. These tax credits are performance-based, meaning the company is eligible to claim incentives once Hoosiers are hired. The city of Westfield will consider additional incentives in support of the project.