Four Roses Distillery, the premium bourbon rescued from bottom-shelf blended obscurity, is planning a $55 million expansion, including a new still and more warehouses to age its bourbon, which has seen double-digit sales increases in recent years.
The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority approved as much as $650,000 in tax incentives Thursday for a potential $34.1 million expansion of production capacity at Four Roses' distillery in Lawrenceburg. According to KEDFA, the project includes $11.2 million in construction and almost $23 million in equipment.
At Four Roses' Coxs Creek property in Bullitt County, a $21 million expansion is planned for new warehouses to meet customer demand, according to KEDFA documents. That project was given approval for as much as $500,000 in tax incentives.
No details were immediately available about the scope of the expansions, but a news conference is expected next week.
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The distillery project is expected to create 15 jobs with an average wage, including benefits, of $38 an hour.
The Anderson County Fiscal Court will contribute $40,000 over 10 years, and the city of Lawrenceburg will contribute $50,000 in in-kind services, according to KEDFA.
Four Roses, owned by Kirin Brewing of Japan, will be required to maintain base employment of 54 full-time workers.
In March, a separate Four Roses project received approval for $800,000 in incentives for an $8.4 million expansion of its bottling plant in Bullitt County.
The 60,000-square-foot bottling plant will house a high-speed line and a single-barrel line, and at the time, Four Roses said the plant was expected to be operating by spring 2018.
Four Roses Distillery has been operating around the clock at capacity, producing about 4 million "proof gallons" annually.
This year, Four Roses did not have a single-barrel release — usually about 10,000 to 12,000 bottles put out right before the Kentucky Derby — to conserve top-quality bourbon in preparation for a special release next year in honor of master distiller Jim Rutledge's 50th anniversary.
In 2014, the distillery opened a second, $500,000 visitors center at its Coxs Creek site, where Four Roses bourbon is matured and bottled, and where barrels are selected for their private bottlings. That visitors center had almost 50,000 tourists, and its manager, Julie Gorham, recently was named the top whiskey attraction manager in the world.