BEAVER DAM, Ky. (Oct. 18, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear congratulated Western Kentucky Distilling Co. on the grand opening of the company’s new $30 million, state-of-the-art distillery in Beaver Dam, creating 35 full-time, Kentucky jobs.
“Coming off what was a historic year for Kentucky bourbon in 2022, seeing these announced projects and investments become operational and begin production is an incredible step for the commonwealth,” said Gov. Beshear. “Today’s grand opening marks yet another step forward for Kentucky’s signature bourbon and spirits industry and will continue to provide incredible job opportunities for the Western Kentucky region. Congratulations to Western Kentucky Distilling’s leadership on this exciting next step.”
“Kentucky’s bourbon industry continues to thrive, and we are thrilled to see Western Kentucky Distilling Co.’s new operation come to fruition,” said Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet Secretary Lindy Casebier, who attended Wednesday’s grand opening. “This new project will expand one of Kentucky’s most sought-after industries, bringing bourbon and additional revenue to the Western Kentucky region.”
The new distillery operation – the first official distillery in Ohio County since Prohibition – is located at 1880 Old Liberty Church Rd. in Beaver Dam, Kentucky, in the Bluegrass Crossings Business Center. The 25,000-square-foot distillery on 80 acres features 15 warehouses adding an additional 300,000 square feet. It will have the capacity to distill over 50,000 barrels per year and store 250,000 barrels. The distillery has already brought 25 jobs to the region, with 35 total full-time jobs to be created as production increases.
“It’s a proud moment for our team at Western Kentucky Distilling Co. as we open the doors and start making Kentucky bourbon and rye whiskey within our walls,” said Western Kentucky Distilling Co. COO and Master Distiller Jacob Call. “Kentucky whiskey has a rich history in our state, and it’s an honor for our distillery to become part of that legacy. As the first official distillery in Ohio County since Prohibition, we’re excited to be part of the community and bring jobs to the region.”
Western Kentucky Distilling Co. is a bourbon and rye whiskey distillery located in Beaver Dam, Kentucky. The 100% Kentucky-owned distillery opened in 2023 as the first official distillery in Ohio County since Prohibition and is under the leadership of Call, an eighth-generation distiller and Kentuckian, and President J.D. Edwards. From purchasing all cooking, fermenting and distilling equipment in Kentucky, including a Vendome 36-inch copper still, to plans to use all locally grown Kentucky corn, the team is proud to support the local community and the commonwealth.
Ohio County Fiscal Court Judge/Executive David Johnston is excited to see the company operational and making an impact in the community: “We are happy to have this new industry in our county and in the Bluegrass Crossings Business Centre. This business will help to strengthen our economy and provide good-paying jobs. We are pleased to welcome them to our community.”
Beaver Dam Mayor Paul Sandefur highlighted the company’s innovation and achievements in developing the new distillery operation: “As a member of this community, I am thrilled to see the progress at Western Kentucky Distilling Co. Their achievement in developing a state-of-the-art facility at Bluegrass Crossings Business Centre demonstrates what hard work, determination and having a vision can accomplish.”
Ohio County Economic Development Alliance executive director Jason S. Chinn noted the positive economic impact this investment will have on the community: “We are excited to see Western Kentucky Distilling Co.’s success at Bluegrass Crossings Business Centre. This project creates new jobs and reinforces Ohio County’s reputation as a business-friendly community. We celebrate Western Kentucky Distilling Co. for their skill and dedication to their craft and look forward to what they accomplish in the future.”
Western Kentucky Distilling’s investment and job creation builds on recent economic momentum in the commonwealth.
Last 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. Recently, Moody’s Investors Service upgraded Kentucky’s credit outlook from stable to positive.
Site Selection magazine 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 May 2022 preliminarily approved an incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can tax incentives based on the company’s investment and annual job and wage targets.
Additionally, in October 2022 KEDFA approved the company for further 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, Western Kentucky Distilling 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 Western Kentucky Distilling Co., visit wkydistilling.com.
A detailed community profile for Ohio County can be viewed here.