Brown-Forman breaks ground on Old Forester Distillery in Louisville

Will create 20 new jobs

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (July 22, 2015) — Gov. Steve Beshear and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer today joined company officials today to break ground on the Brown-Forman Old Forester Distillery in downtown Louisville.

brownBrown-Forman is expected to create up to 20 new jobs and invest approximately $30 million into the project.

“The Kentucky Bourbon industry has nearly doubled its workforce, tripled its number of distilleries, and set new modern records for exports and barrel inventories,” Beshear said. “Bourbon is truly one of Kentucky’s signature industries, and Old Forester is one of our many major brands. I want to congratulate Brown-Forman as an outstanding corporate partner and for investing in the Louisville economy and bringing back the heritage of Whiskey Row. This is a win-win for the commonwealth.”

Brown-Forman will open a distillery and bourbon experience for its founding brand, Old Forester, in two historic buildings at 117 and 119 Main St. in Louisville. The combined buildings have approximately 55,000-s.f. with 52 linear feet facing Main Street.

“Old Forester’s return to West Main Street will give bourbon lovers around the world another reason to visit Louisville,” Fischer said. “It will help us display our hospitality, great restaurant and art scene and of course, introduce what we call Bourbonism – a vital part of our food and beverage economic development strategy.”

The investment will include renovating the buildings and purchasing equipment. The new distillery will be able to distill 100,000 cases of bourbon annually with additional production capabilities at the Brown-Forman distillery located at 2921 Dixie Highway in Louisville.

In addition to production, the distillery also will serve as a home place for the Old Forester brand. The facility will be open to tours and feature a tasting room, exhibits, bourbon-making demonstrations and event spaces.

Brown-Forman Corporation is headquartered in Louisville and employs nearly 4,200 people worldwide.

Kentucky produces 95 percent of the world’s bourbon, and the more than 5.6 million barrels of aging bourbon here outnumber the state’s population of 4.4 million. More than 15,400 jobs in Kentucky are connected to distillery-related enterprise, generating approximately $707 million in payroll, according to the Kentucky Distiller’s Association.

To encourage the investment and job growth in Louisville, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $900,000 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.

KEDFA also approved Brown-Forman for tax benefits up to $410,000 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.

In addition, Brown-Forman is eligible to receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies are eligible to receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives. Last year, the Kentucky Skills Network trained more than 84,000 employees from more than 4,100 Kentucky companies.