FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 29, 2022) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced continued momentum of the state’s signature bourbon and spirits industry as Blue Run Spirits LLC will locate a new whiskey operation in Georgetown with a nearly $51 million investment that will create a projected 45 quality jobs for Kentuckians.
“Our state’s bourbon industry continues to build momentum and reach new heights,” said Gov. Beshear. “This investment by Blue Run Spirits is a welcome addition to the Georgetown and Scott County community and the Kentucky bourbon and tourism scene. I want to thank the company’s leadership for their vision to grow in the commonwealth and add to Kentucky’s position as the bourbon capital of the world.”
The project will include a 35,000-square-foot distillery and a 20,000-square-foot rickhouse and will serve as the company’s first vertically integrated distilling operation and future headquarters. Capital investment will go toward the purchase of distilling equipment, site acquisition and construction costs, as well as other startup-related expenditures. The investment also will create a projected 45 full-time jobs for local residents, including operations and administrative positions.
“When we started Blue Run Spirits in October of 2020, we never imagined a distillery would be in our future, but our unprecedented growth has deemed that a necessity, which is an incredibly exciting prospect for our entire team,” said Blue Run Spirits CEO and co-founder Mike Montgomery. “The generous support of the commonwealth is making this a reality. We look forward to becoming a dynamic contributor to the economic vibrancy of Scott County and Georgetown and deepening our connection to an area so significant in the rich history and the promising future of bourbon in Kentucky.”
Blue Run Spirits was founded in 2020 and has released 10 bourbons and rye whiskies. This year’s volume is expected to quintuple its 2021 total, with sales projected at approximately $15 million. Volume of sales in 2022 is anticipated to reach 50,000 4.5-liter cases, with an anticipated rise to 85,000 to 100,000 cases in 2023. Many of the company’s products have received accolades from well-respected spirits competitions across the country. For example, the prestigious worldwide San Francisco World Spirits Competition has awarded numerous prizes to Blue Run products in multiple categories. Blue Run currently is distributed in 19 states and two provinces in Canada.
Blue Run Spirits’ planned expansion builds on recent bourbon and spirits growth across Kentucky. Since the start of the Beshear administration, the commonwealth’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.
Scott County Judge/Executive Joe Covington said he is excited to build on the rich tradition of Kentucky bourbon in the area and bring quality jobs to the community.
“Blue Run Spirits’ proposed facility in Georgetown will have a substantial positive impact on jobs, local business revenue, tourism and raising the profile of Georgetown and Scott County worldwide,” said Judge Covington. “Having the first distillery established in Scott County since prohibition based in Georgetown, the hometown of Elijah Craig and the birthplace of bourbon, is a significant milestone for the entire commonwealth of Kentucky, particularly the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. We can’t thank Blue Run Spirits enough for selecting this location to build the foundation for their very promising future.”
Georgetown Mayor Tom Prather said he looks forward to building a successful partnership with the company.
“Sometimes things align perfectly. This is the right company at the right time and in the right place.” Mayor Prather said. “We welcome Blue Run Spirits to Georgetown and our Lanes Run Business Park! Blue Run Spirits’ distillery will produce outstanding premium-level bourbon here, and we could not be more proud of being their home. This is a remarkable opportunity for Georgetown and Scott County from the perspectives of economic development, job creation, tourism and cache. Blue Run is a homerun addition to our business park. Thank you, Blue Run, for selecting Georgetown for this important investment.”
Jack Conner, executive director with Scott County United, said he is thrilled to welcome such a quality company to the area.
“The Blue Run Spirits project is another perfect example of diversification of our Georgetown/Scott County economy and will give greater visibility to our bourbon heritage and tourism industry,” said Conner. “A most welcome and significant investment.”
Blue Run Spirits’ 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 record low unemployment rates for four consecutive months, falling from 3.9% in April to 3.8% in May and 3.7% for June and July.
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) last Thursday preliminarily approved a 10-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $700,000 in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of $50,976,430 and annual targets of:
- Creation and maintenance of 45 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 10 years; and
- Paying an average hourly wage of $31.92 including benefits across those jobs.
Additionally, KEDFA approved Blue Run Spirits for up to $150,000 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, Blue Run Spirits 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 Blue Run Spirits, visit bluerunspirits.com.
Images of Blue Run Spirits products can be found here.
A detailed community profile for Scott 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.