Sazerac plans $71 million expansions at 3 Kentucky distilleries

jpatton1@herald-leader.comApril 16, 2014 

Sazerac, which owns Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, the Barton 1792 in Bardstown and The Glenmore in Owensboro, announced Wednesday $71 million in expansions at the three distilleries to meet growing demand for Kentucky bourbon and other spirits.

The family-owned spirits company, headquartered in New Orleans, said the expansions will result in 110 new jobs and will increase bottling, distribution and barrel-storage capacity.

"To see not one, not two, but three iconic distilleries expand their operations shows the world's taste for bourbon is soaring," Gov. Steve Beshear said in a statement. "Bourbon remains a signature industry in Kentucky, and these expansions will continue to grow this legacy. I want to congratulate Sazerac on its investment and the addition of more than 100 new jobs throughout the Commonwealth."

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority has approved tax incentives totaling $7.4 million for the projects.

"We are very proud we are able to continue to invest in Kentucky through its people and its infrastructure," Mark Brown, president and CEO of Sazerac, said in a news release. "By the time all of our projects are finished at our three facilities, we'll have well over 1,200 employees in the state, and we're excited about the possibility of growing even more."

At Buffalo Trace, Sazerac is adding a 83,000-square-foot warehouse with a state-of-the-art automated storage and retrieval system from Westfalia Technologies Inc., which uses satellite technology to track pallets in multiple deep-storage lanes. Sazerac is the first spirits supplier in the United States to use AS/RS technology, according to the company.

The larger warehouse, which is expected to add 40 full-time jobs over the next two to three years, will be connected to an existing distribution center and is designed to be in keeping with the 228-year-old distillery's architecture. Buffalo Trace is designated a National Historic Landmark.

At The Glenmore Distillery, another 223,000-square-foot distribution center will be built with an automated storage and retrieval system. Existing barrel warehouses will be improved, and 20 full-time jobs are expected to be created.

At the Barton distillery, production capacity will be increased with new equipment, and 50 new full-time jobs are expected to be added.

The improvements are needed to accommodate anticipated growth, Sazerac said.

Gray Construction, a design-build contractor headquartered in Lexington, will build the highly automated distribution centers at Buffalo Trace and The Glenmore Distillery.

Sazerac produces a plethora of bourbons including Buffalo Trace, Pappy Van Winkle, Weller, Blanton's, Very Old Barton, 1792, Ancient Age and more, along with Peychaud's Bitter and the trendy Fireball Cinnamon Whisky.

Sazerac also has operations in Louisville; New Orleans; Baltimore; Fredericksburg, Va.; Carson, Calif.; Lewiston, Maine; Manchester, N.H.; and Montreal.

Last week, Buffalo Trace separately received approval from the Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority for a 6,000-square-foot expansion of existing visitor facilities, including additional meeting and event space, expanded tasting area and an enlarged gift shop. Total investment is projected to be $2.2 million, with as much as a fourth of that rebated from taxes over 10 years. Sazerac has yet to announce those plans.

Janet Patton: (859) 231-3264. Twitter: @janetpattonhl.

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