FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 28, 2022) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced another major investment in Kentucky’s bourbon industry as Beam Suntory will expand the capacity of Jim Beam Brands Co. with a $400 million investment that will create more than 50 full-time jobs at the Booker Noe Distillery in Boston.
“Jim Beam is a renowned name within Kentucky’s signature bourbon industry, and I am thrilled to see the company continue to grow in our state,” Gov. Beshear said. “This is a substantial investment in Nelson County that will ensure Jim Beam continues to grow in Central Kentucky for decades to come. Thank you to the leaders at the company for once again showing faith in our state and our incredible workforce.”
“We are excited about this expansion opportunity at our Booker Noe site, building on our recent investment in the new consumer experience in Clermont, and now expanding production to ensure enough of our premium liquid is available wherever consumers are looking for them,” said Carlo Coppola, managing director of the James B. Beam Distilling Co. “We appreciate the continued support of Gov. Beshear and his administration of the bourbon industry and these incentives will enable us to bring more great jobs to Kentucky. We are still finalizing our plans and will have more details to share very soon.”
Based in Clermont, Kentucky, the James B. Beam Distilling Co. brands have been produced in the state since 1795. Beam Suntory was formed in 2014 after the company was acquired by Japan-based Suntory Holdings. Beam Suntory is one of the world’s largest producers of premium spirits, with products that include a range of whiskeys, cognacs, gins, vodkas, rum and more. Major bourbon brands include Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Booker’s, Legent, Basil Hayden, Knob Creek and Baker’s.
This investment adds to recent bourbon and spirits growth throughout the commonwealth. Since the start of the Beshear administration, Kentucky’s spirits industry has announced more than 50 new-location or expansion projects totaling over $1.1 billion in planned investments and creating more than 900 announced full-time jobs. Currently, approximately 60 spirits facilities directly employ more than 5,300 people. Kentucky’s bourbon sector is a nearly $9 billion signature industry, generating more than 22,500 jobs with an annual payroll exceeding $1.23 billion. Gov. Beshear also worked with U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to remove harmful bourbon tariffs on trade with the United Kingdom and European Union, ensuring continuing strength in the export market.
Nelson County Judge/Executive Dean Watts said the project adds to the company’s significant presence in the region.
“We are very excited to see the expansion of the Booker Noe Distillery in Boston. This giant investment will add to the already very large footprint of Jim Beam in Nelson County,” Judge Watts said. “The art of making great bourbon is so important to the bourbon heritage that we take pride in, and Jim Beam is top shelf.”
Kim Huston, president of the Nelson County Economic Development Agency, is glad to see the global brand continue to grow.
“It’s always exciting when we are able to celebrate the expansion of one of our companies. I want to thank Jim Beam for making this tremendous investment in Nelson County,” Huston said. “Jim Beam is considered family as their history of making great bourbon goes back decades and generations. The future of Jim Beam is bright as this expansion will allow production to increase, and we will be able to see even more bottles of Beam products available in the United States and across the globe.”
Beam Suntory’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.
In the past year, the Beshear administration 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.
The economic momentum has carried strongly into 2022, with both S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings upgrading Kentucky’s financial outlook to positive in recognition of the commonwealth’s surging economy.
And 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 new record low unemployment rates for three consecutive months, falling from 3.9% in April to 3.8% in May and 3.7% in June.
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.
To encourage investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) today preliminarily approved a 15-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $3 million in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of up to $436.4 million and annual targets of:
- Creation and maintenance of 51 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 15 years; and
- Paying an average hourly wage of $51 including benefits across those jobs.
Additionally, KEDFA approved Beam Suntory for up to $550,000 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, the company 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 Beam Suntory, visit BeamSuntory.com.
A detailed community profile for Nelson 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.