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Kentucky Bourbon: #1 with a Bulleit

Bulleit - Shelbyville, Kentucky 2017
Tom Bulleit, Founder, Bulleit Distilling Co. and Deidre Mahlan, President, DIAGEO North America present Gov. Matt Bevin (Ky.) with a commemorative drawing of the Bulleit Distilling Co. during the ribbon-cutting ceremony in Shelbyville, Ky. on Tuesday, March 14, 2017. (Brian Bohannon/AP Images for Bulleit Distilling Co.)
The Bulleit Distilling Co. ribbon-cutting ceremony held Tuesday, March 14, 2017 in Shelbyville, Ky. included Pietro Di Pilato, SVP, Technical, DIAGEO North America, Ky. State Sen. Paul Hornback, Deidre Mahlan, President, DIAGEO North America, Gov. Matt Bevin (Ky.), Tom Bulleit, Founder, Bulleit Distilling Co., Shelby County Judge-Executive Dan Ison, Ky. Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles and Eric Gregory, President, Kentucky Distillers' Association. (Brian Bohannon/AP Images for Bulleit Distilling Co.)
The Bulleit Distilling Co. ribbon-cutting event, Tuesday, March 14, 2017, in Shelbyville, Ky. (Brian Bohannon/AP Images for Bulleit Distilling Co.)
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Bulleit - Shelbyville, Kentucky 2017

Bulleit Distilling Co. opens Shelbyville Distillery

SHELBYVILLE (March 14, 2017) – How did you celebrate your 30th birthday?

The Bulleit Bourbon brand’s 30th anniversary was marked Tuesday with the official ribbon cutting for the opening of its new distillery in Shelbyville, Ky.

“We’re so proud to open the Bulleit Distilling Co. here in Shelbyville,” said Tom Bulleit, who in 1987 quit his job as a lawyer to pursue his true passion – creating quality bourbon. “Seeing this distillery come to life has been a truly surreal experience that couldn’t have been achieved without the tireless work of so many men and women. We can’t wait to share the delicious whiskey that will be produced here for centuries to come.”

Gov. Matt Bevin joined Bulleit and local officials in opening the $115 million distillery, part of a $130-plus million investment creating approximately 30 full-time jobs.

“It is an honor to join Bulleit Distilling Co. today to celebrate the opening of its new distillery in Shelbyville,” Gov. Bevin said. “Bourbon, in addition to its status as a signature Kentucky product, is an important driver of state’s economy and workforce. Bulleit, which celebrates its 30th anniversary in conjunction with today’s ribbon cutting, continues to add international acclaim to Kentucky’s proud spirit-making tradition. I congratulate the company on these achievements and expect they’ll see continued strong growth in the coming years.”

Bulleit announced in 2014 it would construct a 1.8 million proof gallon distillery on Benson Pike in Shelby County. The 300-acre campus includes four barrel warehouses with two more planned for construction. Each warehouse has a 55,000 barrel capacity. The distillery’s modular design allows for growth. Company executives, without announcing a timeline, said they plan an expansion project in the near future.

The distillery features a 52-foot still crafted by Vendome Copper and Brass Works Inc. in Louisville and the first Shelby County’s industrial solar array, which will collect enough energy to run on-site mobile equipment.

Shelby Energy Cooperative provides the energy infrastructure for the distillery, which is projected to use approximately 3.5 megawatts of power, according to Nick Morris, engineering manager for Shelby Energy Cooperative. In October, Morris told Kentucky Living about the co-op’s work to strengthen the reliability of both transmission and electric distribution lines.

A team from Shelby Energy Cooperative and East Kentucky Power Cooperative, Winchester, which generates and transmits the electricity, worked collaboratively to complete the project. Power for the distillery comes from the Clay Village Distribution Substation located on the corner of the distillery property.

“To ensure reliable service to the site, we will be serving the facility with what we call a loop feed,” says Morris. “In layman’s terms, we are installing an electric distribution circuit that has redundancy—multiple circuits that can feed power to the site in either direction.”

While the Bulleit Distilling Co. will not initially be open to the public, guests are invited to learn more about Bulleit and its family of whiskeys by visiting the Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Experience at Stitzel-Weller (3860 Fitzgerald Road, Louisville, KY 40216) on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail or going to

Diageo, the parent company of Bulleit, is investing about $115 million in this initial phase of the Shelbyville site and recently invested $18 million to develop the Stitzel-Weller visitor center, bottling line and micro distillery, in Louisville.

“Today marks a huge achievement for Tom Bulleit and everyone at Diageo, as we open an amazing facility that will further establish the legacy of Bulleit here in Kentucky,” said Deirdre Mahlan, President of Diageo North America. “We look forward to continuing to watch the brand grow as we become part of the Shelbyville community.”

Diageo is a global premium beverage provider whose products include many of the world’s most famous spirits and beer labels. Brands include Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, Bulleit, George Dickel, Buchanan’s whisky, Smirnoff, Cîroc and Ketel One vodkas, Baileys, Captain Morgan, Tanqueray Gin and the Guinness family of beers. Diageo’s products sell in more than 180 countries.

Sen. Paul Hornback, of Shelbyville, said the location of Bulleit is a reflection of a flourishing industry.

“The completion of Bulleit’s multi-million dollar project here in Shelbyville marks a new era in the growth of the Kentucky bourbon industry,” he said. “I am proud that Shelby County has once again proven itself open for business, and I thank Bulleit for choosing our region for its new enterprise.”

Rep. Rob Rothenburger, of Shelbyville, noted the project adds to the Kentucky bourbon industry’s momentum.

“Bourbon is an $8.5 billion industry that not only promotes Kentucky tourism, but is responsible for robust job creation in the commonwealth,” Rep. Rothenburger said. “Bulleit’s most recent investment speaks loudly of the industry’s continued growth and reinstates what we all know: Kentucky truly is home to the world’s finest bourbon. I thank Bulleit for their investment in Shelby County, and I look forward to working with them through their continued success.”

Shelby County Judge-Executive Dan Ison said the distillery has been a strong community partner through the construction phase and that partnership will continue.

“From buying corn from Shelby County farmers, to a commitment to the environment and participation in our community, we are honored to call the Bulleit Distilling Co. a community partner,” Judge-Executive Ison said. “We welcome the distillery and are honored it calls Shelby County home.”

Shelbyville Mayor Thomas Hardesty welcomed the new distillery to the city.

“Shelby County is proud to play a role in the next chapter of Bulleit Bourbon,” Mayor Hardesty said. “Our people and our community are excited to be part of the Bulleit family tradition of distilling and aging quality bourbon.”

To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in 2016 gave the company final approval for up to $2.5 million in tax incentives through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the agreement term through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.

In KEDFA in 2014 approved the company for up to $1.5 million 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.

Bulleit also 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. In fiscal 2016, the Kentucky Skills Network provided training for nearly 95,000 Kentuckians and 5,000 companies from a variety of industry sectors.

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