29th May, 2014 by Lauren Eads
Diageo has announced plans to build a new $115m distillery in Kentucky with a production capacity of 1.8 million gallons (750,000 nine-litre cases), marking its continued commitment to the American whiskey sector.
The facility will be built on 300 acres of property located on Benson Pike in Shelby County over a three year period, with plans for six ageing warehouses on site.
While the plans are still subject to approval by local government, the distillery is expected to produce a number of current brands, including Bulleit Bourbon, and future bourbon and North American whiskey brands, according to a spokesperson for Diageo.
Larry Schwartz, president of Diageo North America, said: “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. 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.”
Bourbon is currently the fastest growing spirits category in the U.S having enjoyed growth of 14% in the last 52 weeks.
Should the plans be approved, Diageo hopes to start work in the coming months with the goal of having the distillery operational by late 2016.
Kentucky Governor, Steve Beshear, welcomed the plans saying it marked “another feather in the cap for Kentucky’s bourbon industry”.
He said: “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.”
Diageo will hold an Open House on 10 June to discuss the plans for the proposed Shelby County distillery and hear from members of the public.