Lieutenant Governor Abramson's Communications Office
Gov. Beshear Announces Heaven Hill Distilleries to Expand Kentucky Presence in Downtown Louisville
Company to open downtown attraction, invest $9.5 million in Commonwealth
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Steve Beshear today announced Heaven Hill Distilleries will create 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.
“This is an exciting time for the Commonwealth and Heaven Hill,” said Gov. Beshear. “Heaven Hill’s growing presence only adds to the appeal of downtown Louisville and means new jobs for Kentucky families and a boost to our economy. The Bourbon industry is one of Kentucky’s signature industries and plays a vital role in Kentucky’s economic success, representing thousands of jobs and producing millions of dollars in incomes.”
Lieutenant Governor 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 5-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,” said Lt. Gov. Abramson. “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.
“We at Heaven Hill Distilleries are pleased to announce this exciting new initiative for Louisville, for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and for our Evan Williams Bourbon brand,” said Heaven Hill Executive Vice President Harry J. Shapira. “It 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.”
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.
To encourage Heaven Hill’s investment and job growth in Louisville, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved the company 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.
KEDFA 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.
“Heaven Hill’s investment in this new facility will allow our city to reap the rewards of economic growth, development and jobs,” said Sen. Gerald A. Neal, of Louisville. “It also speaks well of our workforce that they have chosen to locate here. I applaud Gov. Beshear for taking the lead to support our industry.”
“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.”
“This is a great project, not only because of Heaven Hill’s significant investment and the jobs it will create, but for the history that is being reclaimed as the bourbon industry returns to Main Street in downtown Louisville,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.
“This is a one-two punch for our downtown economy,” said Eileen Pickett, executive vice president of Greater Louisville Inc. “It is a strong move within our food and beverage innovation cluster, as well as a powerful push in job creation and growth of regional tourism.”
For more information on Heaven Hill, visit www.heavenhill.com.
Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at www.ThinkKentucky.com. Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/ThinkKentucky or follow on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/ThinkKentucky.
A detailed community profile for Louisville (Jefferson County) can be viewed at http://thinkkentucky.com/EDIS/cmnty/index.aspx?cw=091.