FRANKFORT, Ky. (Dec. 8, 2022) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced new job creation within Kentucky’s bourbon industry as Pernod Ricard USA LLC, which produces leading brands such as Jefferson’s, Jameson Irish Whiskey, Absolut Vodka, Glenlivet and Chivas Brothers, will establish a new distillery in Marion County, creating 55 full-time jobs with a $196 million investment. The project has potential to grow to a $250 million investment across 10 years.
“The commonwealth’s bourbon industry continues to gain momentum and grow to new heights,” said Gov. Beshear. “This investment by Pernod Ricard is a welcome addition to the Lebanon and Marion County community and will reinforce our bourbon industry and set us apart in our continued sustainability efforts. I want to thank the leaders of Pernod Ricard for their vision to grow in Kentucky, and I look forward to seeing their success in the coming years.”
Leaders at Pernod Ricard will construct a new 75,000-square-foot facility on a 265-acre site in Lebanon. The site will include a distillery, drying operation, three warehouses and a world-class visitor center. Work on the facility is expected to begin in January 2023 and be completed by July 2024. The Marion County facility will be fully carbon neutral and will have zero fossil fuel consumption to produce bourbon. Pernod Ricard is only the second distillery in Kentucky and North America to make this claim. Pernod Ricard will be a 7.5 million proof-gallon distillery, producing 115,000 barrels annually. The company’s purpose for the project is threefold: to build the most sustainable distillery in North America, which supports Pernod Ricard’s fundamental focus on sustainability, support their rapidly growing Jefferson’s brand, and support their existing American whiskey operations in West Virginia, Texas and Kentucky.
Ann Mukherjee, chairman and CEO of Pernod Ricard North America, commented on the brand’s potential.
“American whiskey is booming, and Jefferson’s growth has been phenomenal,” said Mukherjee. “We’re very bullish on the brand’s potential, and we’re committed to making our new Jefferson’s facility one of the most exemplary and sustainable distilleries in the world in order to achieve it.”
Pernod Ricard was founded in 1975 from the merger of two French anise-based spirits companies: Pernod, created in 1805, and Ricard, created in 1932. Pernod Ricard holds one of the most comprehensive portfolios within the industry, with 240 premium brands available in over 160 countries, including Jameson Irish Whiskey, Absolut Vodka, Glenlivet and Chivas Brothers. A global leader in wine and spirits, with 18,500 employees worldwide, Pernod Ricard will be building one of the largest LEED-certified distilleries globally and the first to locate in the commonwealth.
Pernod Ricard’s planned project builds on recent bourbon and spirits growth across Kentucky. Since the start of the Beshear administration, the commonwealth’s spirits industry has roughly 60 new-location or expansion projects totaling over $2.5 billion in planned investments and creating more than 1,300 announced full-time jobs.
State Sen. Jimmy Higdon spoke on the importance of new investments for the region.
“It is certainly good news to hear of Pernod Ricard’s location in Lebanon/Marion County. New jobs and investment benefit our community, region and state,” said Sen. Higdon.
State Rep. Michael “Sarge” Pollock thanked the people who made this project possible.
“This is tremendous news for our community and proves what we’ve known all along – that Lebanon and Marion County has so much to offer in terms of quality of life and opportunity,” Rep. Pollock said. “I appreciate all the work of those who made it possible.”
Marion County Judge/Executive David R. Daugherty welcomed new industry to the area.
“Marion County is thrilled by Pernod Ricard locating in our area,” said Judge Daugherty. “The fact that a new distillery will bring increased job opportunities for our residents is always such a great benefit for our county. The distillery will, no doubt, become a tourist destination that will showcase to so many more visitors the great people and way of life in Marion County that we get to experience daily. We are so excited to share this with tourists visiting our community.”
Lebanon Mayor Gary D. Crenshaw spoke on the economic impact the project will have on the community.
“The investment by Pernod Ricard in our community will have a long-lasting positive economic impact on Lebanon and Marion County,” Mayor Crenshaw said. “Their location here energizes the dynamics for increased tourism, restaurant and hotel expansion. We’re grateful for this opportunity to partner with an industry leader to create something great here in Marion County.”
Marion County Economic Development Executive Director Brooklyn Leep supported the project as well.
“We are so grateful that Pernod Ricard has chosen Marion County as its home to not only expand its bourbon footprint, but also provide an unparalleled visitor center experience for bourbon lovers across the globe,” said Leep. “We look forward to supporting the company every step of the way as it brings its wonderful vision to reality in Lebanon, Kentucky.”
Jerry Carter, president and CEO of Inter-County Energy, said he is excited about partnering with the company.
“Inter-County Energy is excited to partner with Pernod Ricard in their new distillery and visitor center campus in Lebanon-Marion County,” Carter said. “Meeting our members’ requests – and specifically, Pernod Ricard's requirements for sustainable 100% renewable energy for the Lebanon-Marion County project – is a cornerstone principle for Inter-County Energy.”
Pernod Ricard’s investment and planned job creation furthers recent economic momentum in the commonwealth, as the state builds back stronger from the effects of the pandemic.
In 2021, the commonwealth shattered every economic development record in the books. Private-sector new-location and expansion announcements included a record $11.2 billion in total planned investment and commitments to create a record 18,000-plus full-time jobs across the coming years. Kentucky’s average incentivized hourly wage for projects statewide in 2021 was $24 before benefits, a 9.4% increase over the previous year.
That momentum has continued into 2022 with 160 new-location and expansion announcements totaling nearly 14,500 full-time jobs behind nearly $9.3 billion in new investment through November. Wages have continued to rise in 2022, with an average incentivized wage of $26.71 through November.
Gov. Beshear has now secured the best two-year period in state history for economic growth. Gov. Beshear has announced 41,237 full-time jobs and 728 private-sector new-location and expansion projects totaling, $22.89 billion in announced investments during his administration.
Gov. Beshear has also announced the two largest economic development projects in state history. In September 2021, Gov. Beshear and leaders from Ford Motor Co. and SK Innovation celebrated a transformative $5.8 billion investment that will create 5,000 jobs in Hardin County. And in April of this year, the Governor was joined by leadership at Envision AESC to announce a $2 billion investment that will create 2,000 jobs in Warren County. These announcements solidify Kentucky as the EV battery production capital of the United States.
Kentucky’s success has been noted by both S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings, which have upgraded the state’s financial outlook to positive in recognition of the commonwealth’s surging economy. In addition, Site Selection magazine placed Kentucky at 6th in its annual Prosperity Cup rankings for 2022, which recognizes state-level economic success based on capital investments.
Kentucky has posted record low unemployment rates, holding at or below 3.9% since April 2022 – the longest period in state history.
In July, the Governor reported the highest annual growth rate in 31 years. And for the second year in a row, Kentucky’s General Fund budget surplus has exceeded $1 billion. Also in July, Gov. Beshear reported that the state’s Rainy Day fund is up to a record balance of $2.7 billion, significantly higher than the $129 million balance the fund had when the Governor took office.
Kentucky reported August 2022 General Fund receipts hit an unprecedented high for any August on record, marking 21 straight months of growing revenues for the state.
Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed Kentucky lead the entire nation in job growth for the month of August and tied with New Hampshire for the largest jump in employment growth for September.
In September, Kentucky reported August 2022 General Fund receipts hit an unprecedented high for any August on record, marking 21 straight months of growing revenues for the state. September was also the third highest revenue month on record with more than $1.4 billion reported, marking the seventh month this year with collections topping $1 billion.
And from September 2021 to September 2022, Kentucky added 81,700 new jobs. Except for a four-month recovery period after the initial COVID-19 shock, this is the largest number of new jobs added in 20 years.
To encourage investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in December preliminarily approved a 15-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $1.6 million in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of at least $181 million and annual targets of:
- Creation and maintenance of 55 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 15 years; and
- Paying an average hourly wage of $82.35 including benefits across those jobs.
By meeting its annual targets over the agreement term, the company can be eligible to keep a portion of the new tax revenue it generates. The company may claim eligible incentives against its income tax liability and/or wage assessments.
In addition, Pernod Ricard can receive resources from Kentucky’s workforce service providers. Those include no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job-training incentives.
For more information on Pernod Ricard, visit pernod-ricard.com/en.
A detailed community profile for Marion County can be viewed here.
Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at CED.ky.gov. Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion at facebook.com/CEDkygov, on Twitter @CEDkygov, Instagram @CEDkygov and LinkedIn.