Kristina Slattery
Kristina Slattery
Business Development

Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development

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That’s the Spirit: Bourbon Industry Powering Economic Momentum in 2021

Plans for new jobs and investments are pouring in from companies across the commonwealth, and that includes Kentucky’s $8.6 billion signature bourbon industry. 

This year alone, the state’s spirits industry – overwhelming comprised of bourbon-related businesses – announced $240 million in planned investment and 164 new jobs through the end of May. Not only does bourbon buoy the state’s economy by creating quality opportunities for Kentuckians, but also by drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors to the commonwealth annually. 

As the state emerges from the pandemic and its economy continues to strengthenKentucky’s native spirit is creating lots of reasons for optimism.  

Take for example the grand opening of Heaven Hill’s $19 million visitor center, fittingly held on June 14 – National Bourbon Day. Gov. Andy Beshear joined Heaven Hill Brands President Max L. Shapira, and local officials to celebrate the grand opening of the new Heaven Hill Bourbon Experience in Bardstown. 

“I am proud to be in the heart of bourbon country to proclaim today National Kentucky Bourbon Day and I am thrilled to be here to congratulate the Shapira family and the Heaven Hill team on another successful project investing millions in Kentucky and our people,” Gov. Beshear said at the grand opening. “As we emerge from this pandemic with our economy booming, we are announcing more jobs and investment in the commonwealth every week, and the bourbon industry is no exception. This state-of-the-art visitor center will give people one more great reason to visit Kentucky and experience the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, creating even more jobs and opportunity.” 

The new Heaven Hill Bourbon Experience triples its previous footprint with more than 30,000 square feet, capable of welcoming over 900 enthusiasts or newcomers at a time. In addition to the $19 million investment in the experience, the company invested $106 million in new barrel warehousing, bottling line and equipment upgrades and increased holdings of aging bourbon whiskey. 

Heaven Hill’s announcement comes on the heels of some other encouraging developments in the world of Kentucky bourbon: In April, the Governor joined members of the Dant family who lead Log Still Distillery and local officials in Nelson County to cut the ribbon on the distillery’s tasting room, signifying a major step forward for a two-phase project expected to create 146 full-time jobs with $36 million in total investment; and in May, startup bourbon producer Jackson Purchase Distillery announced plans to upgrade a long-idled facility and create 30 well-paying jobs for Kentuckians as part of the company’s plans for a new $8.76 million distilling operation in Fulton County. 

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