Company will purchase 300 acres, will create 30 jobs for distillation and maturation
SHELBYVILLE, Ky. (May 29, 2014) — Diageo today announced its intention to invest an estimated $115 million over three years to build a 1.8 million proof gallon (750,000 9-liter cases) distillery and six barrel storage warehouses in Shelby County, Ky. While finalization of these plans is still subject to approval by local government, the project will represent a significant investment in Kentucky’s growing bourbon industry. The proposed facility will distill a number of current and future Diageo bourbon and North American Whiskey brands.
Diageo will purchase approximately 300 acres of property located on Benson Pike in Shelby County. The company expects that the construction project will provide a significant number of jobs and anticipates employing approximately 30 people for whiskey distillation and maturation.
“This proposed investment in Shelby County, in the heart of Kentucky bourbon country, will cement our commitment to expanding 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.”
“Today marks another feather in the cap for Kentucky’s bourbon industry,” said Gov. Steve Beshear. “Distilled spirits remain a marquee industry in the commonwealth, and Diageo’s new distillery will ensure that even more Kentucky bourbon is enjoyed around the globe. I want to thank Diageo for investing in Shelby County, and I look forward to seeing the distillery in action.”
Over the past year, Diageo’s momentum in the North American Whiskey has accelerated with both flagship and new-to-world brands. Fueled by flavor innovations and consumer demand for premium brands with authenticity, bourbon is currently the fastest growing spirits category in the U.S., enjoying 14 percent value growth for the latest 52 weeks.This popularity is mirrored globally, with the super-premium price segment growing 24 percent over the past three years.
The proposed distillery will be designed to fit in with the surrounding countryside and during construction; Diageo will take measures to conserve the natural landscape in the area. Approximately 100 acres of land around the property line will act as a natural barrier to site operations. Diageo North America has a strong record of achieving zero waste to landfill in its operations, and the company aims to achieve the same in Kentucky. Diageo also plans to collaborate with the local community for the recycling and reuse of materials generated from the proposed facility.
Diageo announced in February that it will be opening a Visitor Center at its legendary Stitzel-Weller Distillery in Louisville. Diageo hopes that the Stitzel-Weller Visitor Center will soon be included on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail tour.
On June 10, Diageo will hold an open house to discuss the plans for the proposed Shelby County distillery, answer questions and hear from members of the public from 2 to 7 p.m. at the Shelbyville Country Club, 47 Smithfield Road, Shelbyville, KY. A public hearing will be conducted June 17 at 6:30 p.m. at the Stratton Community Center, 215 Washington Street, Shelbyville, KY. Diageo hopes to receive approvals and to break ground in the coming months with the goal of having the distillery operational in late 2016.
Diageo 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.