FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept 10, 2020) – Clermont Distilling Co. plans to construct a new distillery and create 22 high-paying jobs in Bullitt County as part of a $13.4 million, Phase I investment.
The venture – spearheaded by well-established regional developer Lee Wilburn – also holds the potential for significant future expansion and additional job creation.
"This is great news for Kentucky’s signature bourbon industry," Gov. Andy Beshear said. "I want to thank Lee and his team for recognizing that paying good wages strengthens families and communities."
Company leaders expect to begin construction on the distillery in spring 2021. Phase I of the project comprises building a traditionally designed, energy-efficient distillery off Interstate Highway 65 at the Clermont/Bardstown exit. The distillery's operations will span 15 acres alongside Kentucky Highway 245 leading to Bardstown. In total, executives aim to develop 55 acres at the site.
Plans for the distillery include a tasting room, a gift shop, a rick house to store 24,000 bourbon barrels and a grain house. The operations also are expected to include a 36-inch continuous still, which will provide flexibility to upscale production as high as 50,000 barrels per year.
"As a fifth-generation Kentuckian, our family has deep ties to the bourbon industry through various bloodlines. This project brings us great excitement to have our new distillery joining the iconic Kentucky bourbon industry," said Wilburn, Clermont Distilling's founder. "The land chosen for Clermont Distillery had been held by the same family for over 90 years and became available for purchase at the most perfect time."
Kentucky is home to 95% of the world’s bourbon supply, which plays an important role in the commonwealth’s rapidly growing food and beverage sector. Currently, more than 350 food and beverage facilities operate in Kentucky, employing over 52,000 people.
Since December 2019, spirits companies have announced roughly $219 million in planned investment and over 300 projected jobs.
State Sen. Mike Nemes, of Shepherdsville, said the company will be a good fit for one of Kentucky’s strongest industries.
"The Clermont Distilling Co. will be a great addition to Kentucky’s iconic bourbon industry," Sen. Nemes said. "The 22 full-time jobs created, with support from state programs, will assist Bullitt County in expanding its workforce and attracting more economic development opportunities. I look forward to watching the vision for Clermont Distilling Co. come to life and offer my continuing support in the General Assembly."
State Rep. Thomas Huff, of Shepherdsville, said the project will benefit the local community and the industry at large.
"This is incredible news not just for Bullitt County, but for bourbon drinkers and collectors all over the world," Rep. Huff said. "To add another business to our state’s historic bourbon industry at the KY 245 corridor means jobs connected to the new distillery and jobs connected to the tourism dollars it brings with it. I think we can all drink to that."
Bullitt County Judge/Executive Jerry Summers said Clermont Distilling would help transform the region for the better.
"When Lee and his representatives presented us with this opportunity, we knew immediately it would serve as an anchor for Bullitt County," Judge/Executive Summers said. "The Bullitt County Fiscal Court has worked hard to lay the groundwork for transforming this section of Highway 245 into a scenic corridor for Central Kentucky, and this project marks the onset of making that vision a reality. Not only that, but Clermont Distilling's presence will diversify our economy and provide high-wage jobs for Kentuckians in the region. We have gleefully worked to help Lee every step of the way, and we are committed to continue doing so moving forward."
Larry Tucker, executive director of the Bullitt County Economic Development Authority, said the project demonstrates the business community’s continued confidence in his county.
"Bullitt County is highly sought after by developers and provides desirable investment return for those who are investing in our community," Tucker said. "Many of them, including Lee Wilburn, continue to express their confidence in Bullitt County with additional investments and expansions. We are pleased to have Mr. Wilburn and his developments in Bullitt County."
To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) on 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 $800,000 in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of $13.4 million and annual targets of:
- Creation and maintenance of 22 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 10 years; and
- Paying an average hourly wage of $56 including benefits across those jobs.
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.
Additionally, KEDFA approved the company for up to $200,000 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.
In addition, Clermont Distilling 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.
A detailed community profile for Bullitt County can be viewed here.
Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at www.CED.ky.gov. Fans of the Cabinet can also join the discussion at facebook.com/CEDkygov, on Twitter @CEDkygov and LinkedIn.
Read about other key updates, actions and information from Gov. Beshear and his administration at governor.ky.gov, kycovid19.ky.gov and the Governor’s official social media accounts Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.