HICKMAN, Ky. – Startup bourbon producer Jackson Purchase Distillery plans to upgrade a long-idled facility and create 30 well-paying jobs for Kentuckians as part of the company’s plans for a new, $8.76 million distilling operation in Fulton County.
In March, Jackson Purchase Distillery’s management group acquired an unused distilling facility established several years prior by Memphis, Tennessee-based attorney Ray Jamieson. To bolster the nearly complete distillery, the company immediately began an expansion that will involve purchasing additional land, constructing barrel storage, and making various upgrades throughout the facility. Company leaders expect to complete this expansion phase by April 2022.
The initial 30 positions at the facility will include a senior management team, a master distiller, a distiller in residence, an assistant distiller, a quality control manager, a plant manager, and positions in boiler operations, grain processing, laboratory/data processing, and regulatory compliance.
Once operational, the distillery will produce in excess of 25,000 barrels annually. The company will provide third-party distilling services, catering primarily to mid-size and large customers including brand-owned companies, distilleries needing additional capacity to meet demand, and companies that purchase new products for future third-party sales. Jackson Purchase Distillery also plans to dedicate a segment of its business to fulfilling smaller orders from craft distillers.
The distillery will offer two to three different mash bills – the mixture of grains of which a whiskey consists – that will reflect the style of bourbon and rye typically produced in Kentucky. The company also will consider custom mash bills for larger production runs.
Jackson Purchase Distillery’s management team has a strong manufacturing background and includes Jones, COO David K. Salmon and Chairman Van Carlisle. The concept of acquiring the distillery and producing bourbon as a contract manufacturer started with a conversation between Jones and Salmon, who has 30-plus years of experience in the bourbon and distilling industry. Jones, a Fulton County native, was familiar with the Hickman facility, and eventually, the management team formed a group to purchase the distillery.
The commonwealth is home to 66 spirits operations employing more than 5,100 people full-time statewide. In 2020, the industry announced 20 projects in Kentucky, totaling more than $300 million in new investment and nearly 230 projected jobs.
The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in April preliminarily approved a 15-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $1 million in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of $8.76 million and annual targets of:
- Creation and maintenance of 30 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 15 years; and
- Paying an average hourly wage of $37 including benefits across those jobs.
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.