FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 26, 2021) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear highlighted continued economic growth in Jefferson County, as Bigelow Tea Co. announced plans to relocate and expand in Jeffersontown with a $53 million investment that will create 31 quality jobs for Kentucky residents.
“Congratulations to Bigelow Tea on the company’s expansion in Jefferson County,” Gov. Beshear said. “This project is the latest example of Kentucky’s food, beverage and agritech sector growing rapidly and helping to create quality job opportunities for Kentucky residents. I wish the company well in the years ahead and look forward to seeing its continued growth in the commonwealth.”
Currently located in an 85,000-square-foot facility on Constant Comment Place in Jeffersontown, Bigelow will construct a new, 334,000-square-foot operation across two phases on nearby Blankenbaker Road. The project will let the company boost production to meet growing customer demand. Jobs created through this project include mechanics, general production workers and maintenance supervisors. Company leaders anticipate construction will begin in spring 2022 with the facility operational by summer 2024.
“The Bigelow family and all our team members are proud of our plan to build a state-of-the-art facility in Louisville,” said Bigelow Tea President and CEO Cindi Bigelow. “Over the next few years, we will be committing over $50 million to create an extraordinary plant that will take us forward for decades to come. We would like to thank the Commonwealth of Kentucky, City of Louisville, and the City of Jeffersontown for providing the support necessary to help us finalize the purchase of a 20-acre property near our existing facility that has operated in Jeffersontown for almost 30 years. This is a very exciting time for our family business.”
Headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut, Bigelow Tea is a third-generation family-owned business that has produced specialty tea for over 75 years. The company produces 2 billion tea bags annually, including more than 150 varieties of flavored, traditional, green, herbal and decaffeinated products. Bigelow markets its flagship brand, Constant Comment, as well as Bigelow Organic and Bigelow Benefits Wellness teas, and Bigelow Botanicals Cold Water Infusions. In addition to manufacturing locations in Connecticut, Kentucky and Idaho, the company also restored and maintains the Charleston Tea Garden, a 127-acre tea farm located on Wadmalaw Island in South Carolina. Bigelow is committed to environmentally friendly practices, with 100% renewable sources powering its operations, and use of recyclable tea boxes and shipping containers. Bigelow Tea is a Certified B Corp., one of a select group of companies that has designated corporate social responsibility as a core business goal in the pursuit of a positive social and environmental impact.
Bigelow is part of Kentucky’s thriving food, beverage and agritech sector, which includes more than 350 facilities employing over 52,000 people. Since the start of 2020, roughly 70 new location and expansion projects within the industry are expected to create more than 2,000 full-time jobs with over $1.3 billion in announced investments.
This relocation and expansion furthers the Governor’s agritech initiative, as Team Kentucky works to establish the state as an industry leader for the nation. The initiative joins Kentucky’s advanced manufacturing sector with our deep roots in agriculture. It partners Kentucky entities with international players to leverage best practices and technologies. Those efforts will foster innovation and growth in the industry well into the future.
Jeffersontown Mayor Bill Dieruf said the community is fortunate to have a corporate partner like Bigelow Tea continue to grow and employ local residents.
“I recently discovered that after an exhaustive search, this expansion could have gone anywhere in the country,” Mayor Dieruf said. “In talking with Cindi Bigelow, it became obvious that Bigelow Tea’s commitment to its employees and family friendly values dovetailed well with Jeffersontown’s belief of family first. Jeffersontown will continue to strengthen its already 20-plus-year partnership with this stellar corporate citizen.”
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said the project adds to recent industry growth in the Greater Louisville area.
“Louisville’s food and beverage sector continues to experience significant growth, with over 400 new jobs and over $347 million in new investment announced since January of this year,” Mayor Fischer said. “Our density of talent and resources allow companies of all sizes and anywhere in the supply chain to thrive in Louisville. We congratulate Bigelow Tea Co. on its expansion!”
Bigelow’s investment and planned job creation adds to recent economic momentum in the commonwealth, as the state builds back stronger following the effects of the pandemic.
Last month, thanks to strong fiscal management by the Beshear administration, the state budget office reported the commonwealth ended the 2021 fiscal year with a general fund surplus of over $1.1 billion – the highest ever in the commonwealth – and a 10.9% increase in general fund receipts to $12.8 billion.
Year-to-date, private-sector new-location and expansion announcements include $2.65 billion in total planned investment and the creation of 5,800-plus full-time jobs across the coming years. Through July, Kentucky’s average incentivized hourly wage is $23.47 before benefits, a 6.2% increase over the previous year.
In May, Moody’s Analytics published a positive economic outlook for Kentucky, noting mass vaccination as the driving force behind a sustained recovery in consumer services. The state’s recovery, Moody’s said, benefited from earlier reopening efforts and increased demand for manufactured goods over services. The report also found Kentucky’s manufacturing industry outperformed the nation’s since the national downturn last year.
Fitch Ratings in May improved the state’s financial outlook to stable, reflecting the commonwealth’s solid economic recovery. The state’s April sales tax receipts set an all-time monthly record at $486.5 million, as did vehicle usage tax receipts at over $64 million.
In March, Site Selection magazine’s annual Governor’s Cup rankings for 2020 positioned Kentucky atop the South Central region, and third nationally, for qualifying projects per capita. The commonwealth also placed seventh overall in total projects, the highest of any state with a population under 5 million. Site Selection also recently placed Kentucky in a tie for fifth in its 2021 Prosperity Cup rankings, positioning the state among the national leaders for business climate.
To encourage investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) today preliminarily approved a 10-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $500,000 in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of $53 million and annual targets of:
- Creation and maintenance of 31 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 10 years; and
- Paying an average hourly wage of $28.15 including benefits across those jobs.
Additionally, KEDFA approved Bigelow for up to $900,000 in tax incentives through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA). KEIA allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing.
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, Bigelow can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies can receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives.
For more information on Bigelow Tea, visit BigelowTea.com.
A detailed community profile for Jefferson County can be viewed here.
More information on the Governor’s AgriTech Initiative is available at AgriTech.ky.gov.
Information and updates on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at CED.ky.gov, facebook.com/CEDkygov, on Twitter @CEDkygov and LinkedIn.