ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (Oct. 12, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear congratulated Whiskey House of Kentucky, a producer of contract bourbon and American whiskey, as company and local leadership gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony on a new $130 million operation in Elizabethtown that is creating 100 high-wage full-time jobs.
"Congratulations to Whiskey House of Kentucky and its entire team on reaching this incredible milestone in Elizabethtown,” said Gov. Beshear. “This new distilling operation will not only foster growth in the commonwealth’s signature bourbon industry but is also bringing $130 million in new economic development investment, well-paying jobs and another great reason for tourists to visit the area.”
Rocky Adkins, the Governor’s senior advisor, attended Thursday’s event and congratulated company and regional leaders: “Bourbon is a $9 billion industry in the commonwealth and provides jobs for more than 22,500 of our people. Whiskey House of Kentucky is making sure this industry and the Elizabethtown community remain strong far into the future.”
Whiskey House’s property development plan includes 16 traditional rickhouses, each with capacity for 41,500 barrels. Plans also include a 50,000-square-foot palletized warehouse, a spent grain processing facility, a bottling facility and a rail system, as well as access to one of the highest yielding hydrostratigraphic limestone aquifers in the region, which sits 120 feet below the property.
Produced by Vendome Copper & Brass Works, Whiskey House’s distilling and processing equipment is built around a 48-inch custom still and 14 closed-top fermenters with a capacity of 33,000 gallons. The company will begin operations with more than 7 million proof gallons of annual capacity (112,000 barrels), expanding to more than 14 million proof gallons (224,000 barrels) in 2027.
“Whiskey House will reshape the contract whiskey market in the United States,” said David Mandell, co-founder and CEO of Whiskey House. “As the bourbon market continues to grow, we see the need for additional distilling capacity and more customer focused solutions. We will provide the highest-quality production, guaranteed capacity and exceptional customer service for our brand partners.”
“Whiskey House sets a high bar for advanced manufacturing in the whiskey industry,” said John Hargrove, co-founder, president and COO of Whiskey House. “We’re making major investments in the technological capabilities of the distillery that will immediately make Whiskey House the most advanced contract whiskey production facility in the United States.”
Founded in 2022 by Mandell, Hargrove and Daniel Linde – the team that started and built the Bardstown Bourbon Co. – Whiskey House is designed to focus solely on large-scale, flexible, contract whiskey production. With no brands of its own, Whiskey House provides quality customer service, competitive pricing and visibility into the manufacturing and barrel aging process for its custom whiskey production customers.
Whiskey House’s fully integrated operational and information technology infrastructure captures and analyzes data across the entire manufacturing process. With the addition of its artificial intelligence applications, the company can continually improve quality and efficiency, increase production yields, expand sustainability initiatives and provide critical real-time information to customers about their product. As a result of its efforts and vision for the distillery, Whiskey House received a Microsoft for Startups Founder’s Hub Grant to accelerate the implementation of AI in all aspects of its manufacturing and distillation process.
Hardin County Judge/Executive Keith Taul showed his excitement for the project: “I am enthusiastic about diversifying our local industry while providing more job opportunities for our citizens. I’m confident that Whiskey House’s investment will provide jobs for our citizens for many years to come. The tourism this business could potentially bring to Hardin County gives us a stronger position in Kentucky’s ever-growing bourbon industry, boosting our local economy by positively impacting small businesses.”
Elizabethtown Mayor Jeff Gregory mentioned bourbon production in the commonwealth: “We are extremely excited to welcome the Whiskey House of Kentucky to Elizabethtown. It’s no secret that bourbon production is booming in the commonwealth. With the addition of Whiskey House in our industrial park, it allows Elizabethtown another opportunity to showcase our successes and the positive growth that we have been continuously blessed with.”
Elizabethtown/Hardin County Industrial Foundation Vice President Andy Games spoke on the positive long term effects Whiskey House will have on the community: “Few things are as quintessentially Kentucky as bourbon whiskey, and to have the top producer by volume of American whiskey in the U.S. here in Elizabethtown’s T.J. Patterson Industrial Park is a testament to the steadfast economic growth of our region. This is a historic investment that will further place our region’s industrial sector, and the greater Elizabethtown area, on the map.”
Whiskey House’s investment and planned job creation furthers recent economic momentum in the commonwealth.
This week, Gov. Beshear reported that General Fund receipts for September 2023 totaled over $1 billion, marking the 13th straight month with revenues over $1 billion. The Governor also recently announced that his administration secured the largest General Fund budget surplus and Rainy Day Fund, as well as the most jobs filled in state history.
The General Fund budget surplus at the end of fiscal year 2023 was more than $1.55 billion. Nearly all of the $1.55 billion surplus will go into the commonwealth’s Rainy Day Fund, bringing the fund to a record balance of $3.7 billion – a 2,700% increase since Gov. Beshear took office in 2019.
This year, the Governor announced that Kentucky set the record for the longest period with the lowest unemployment rates in state history.
Since the beginning of his administration, Gov. Beshear has announced nearly 900 private-sector new-location and expansion projects totaling over $27.5 billion in announced investments, creating 48,000 jobs. This is the highest investment figure for any governor in state history.
The robust job creation has been accompanied by rising wages across the commonwealth. The average incentivized hourly wage in 2022 was $26.78 before benefits, the second-highest mark since 2010 and an 11.5% increase over the previous year.
The Governor also secured the best two-year period in state history for economic growth and announced the two largest economic development projects in state history. In September 2021, Gov. Beshear and leaders from Ford Motor Co. and SK On celebrated a transformative $5.8 billion investment that will create 5,000 jobs in Hardin County. In April 2022, the Governor was joined by leadership at 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.
That position was strengthened even further in May 2023, when the Governor and leaders at Toyota announced a $591 million investment across multiple projects as the company’s largest manufacturing operation in Georgetown introduced its first battery electric vehicle. Growth within the EV sector continued into June as Gov. Beshear joined INFAC North America to break ground on the company’s $53 million investment to support EV-related production in Campbellsville.
Over a two-month period this year, Kentucky secured two credit rating increases from major agencies. On May 12, Gov. Beshear announced that his administration obtained the first state-level credit rating upgrade in 13 years and the first-ever upgrade from Fitch Ratings. On June 29, Gov. Beshear announced the commonwealth received its first-ever rating increase from S&P Global Ratings. In September, Moody’s Investors Service upgraded Kentucky’s credit outlook from stable to positive.
Site Selection magazine recently placed Kentucky first in the South Central region and top-5 nationally in its 2023 Prosperity Cup ranking, which recognizes state-level economic development agencies for their success in landing capital investment projects. The publication also placed Kentucky second nationwide and first in the South Central region for its annual Governor’s Cup ranking for 2022, which recognizes state-level economic success based on capital investments.
Gov. Beshear announced a new “Supply Kentucky” initiative with the goal of boosting job growth, reducing costs and providing more security in the supply chains of our Kentucky companies.
To encourage investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in April 2022 preliminarily approved a 10-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide tax incentives based on the company’s investment and annual job and wage targets.
Additionally, KEDFA approved Whiskey House for 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, Whiskey House 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 Whiskey House, visit WhiskeyHouse.com.
A detailed community profile for Hardin County can be viewed here.