Bourbon Industry

Louisville spirits maker plans $12.5 million distillery in Jefferson County

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority approved as much as $650,000 in tax incentives Thursday for a new craft distillery for Louisville.

Rabbit Hole Spirits plans to make bourbon and rye whiskey in a new $12.5 million distillery in Jefferson County, according to KEDFA. "The company's state-of-the-art distillery will produce 5,000 barrels per year, house an events center, and offer daily tours," a KEDFA news release said. "This facility will help draw tourism to the neighborhood as well as the industry."

The project is projected to create an estimated 22 jobs with an average hourly wage, including benefits, of $30.

Owners of Rabbit Hole Spirits were listed as Mike Safai, Kaveh Zamanian and Ned Bass, all of Louisville. According to its website, Rabbit Hole Distilling has several flavors of Kentucky Moonshine on the market, and bourbon and rye produced in partnership with New Riff Distilling in Northern Kentucky expected to come out in 2016.

Zamanian said Thursday that the distillery will be at 711 Jefferson Street, in the NuLu area of Louisville. He said the owners hope to be in operation by the end of 2016.

Safai, who has Java Brewing Co. and Safai Coffee, plans to move his coffee-roasting business next door, and both businesses will be open for tours.

Zamanian is a clinical psychologist by training but hopes to take a sabbatical from his practice to concentrate on distilling.

"I've had a long interest in the spirit industry, starting with wine and moving into spirits. Once I moved to Louisville, bourbon captured our interest, along with partner Mike Safai," Zamanian said. "We feel coffee and bourbon are going to complement each other and bring a unique tourism experience."

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