FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 26, 2012) – Heaven Hill Distilleries plans to 14 full-time jobs and invest $9.5 million in Louisville’s historic district, opening a multi-million dollar artisanal distillery, tourism and retail attraction called The Evan Williams Bourbon Experience along what historically is known as “Whiskey Row” on West Main Street.
Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson joined company and local officials to announce The Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, which is set to open in September 2013 at the Heaven Hill building, a five-story facility that is more than a century old. The attraction will offer guided tours, a fully-functioning artisanal pot still distillery, tasting rooms for visitors of legal drinking age, a dioramic video wall showing the progression of distillery operations, and more – all designed to immerse guests in the bourbon-making process which dates back to distiller Evan Williams in the late 1700s in Louisville.
“We are thrilled to welcome Heaven Hill’s amazing addition to this historic section of Louisville,” Abramson said. “Downtown is growing into a popular destination for tourists and families, making for another bright spot in Kentucky’s rich tradition and history.”
Headquartered in Bardstown, Ky., Heaven Hill is one of the country’s oldest and largest distillers. Founded in 1934 after the end of Prohibition, Heaven Hill has since produced more than six million barrels of Kentucky Bourbon, with a current aging inventory that accounts for nearly 23 percent of the world’s supply of Bourbon. Evan Williams Bourbon is the second largest selling Bourbon brand in the United States and the world.
“(This initiative) brings together important economic development, tourism, and historical forces: an important new manufacturing and distillation facility, a major Louisville and Kentucky-themed attraction, and the history of Whiskey Row and Evan Williams as an important Louisville figure and early distiller,” said Heaven Hill Executive Vice President Harry J. Shapira.
Kentucky is world renowned for its bourbon industry. The state produces 95 percent of the world’s bourbon. The 4.7 million barrels of aging bourbon in the state outnumber the state’s population of 4.3 million. More than 9,000 jobs in Kentucky are connected to distillery-related enterprise, generating more than $400 million in payroll and contributing $2 billion in annual gross state product.
Heaven Hill has been preliminarily approved for tax incentives up to $280,000 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.
The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority also approved Heaven Hill for tax benefits up to $200,000 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.
“Like Bourbon itself, Louisville’s work in this industry has only improved with age, and investments like this from Heaven Hill are a key reason why,” said Rep. Darryl Owens of Louisville. “I want to thank the company for taking this step and for providing these much-needed jobs. I’m also proud the state could play a role in helping to make this happen.”
For more information on Heaven Hill, visit www.heavenhill.com.