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Diageo applies to build $115m Bourbon distillery

Diageo hopes to increase its footprint in the American whiskey sector by building a US$115 million distillery in Shelby County, Kentucky.

Diageo $115m Bourbon distillery
Diageo has revealed plans for a US$115m American whiskey and Bourbon distillery in Kentucky

The distillery will have capacity for 750,000 nine-litre cases and will produce a number of Diageo’s “current and future” Bourbon and North American whiskey brands. A Diageo spokesperson told The Spirits Business that it intends to distil its Bulleit Bourbon brand at the site.

Six maturation warehouses with capacity for 55,000 barrels each will also be built at the facility, which is subject to approval by local government.

“This proposed investment in Shelby County, in the heart of Kentucky Bourbon country, will cement our commitment to expanding our share of the American whiskey category,” said Larry Schwartz, president of Diageo North America.

“Diageo has a long tradition within the craft of whiskey-making and we look forward to bringing this artisanship to the new distillery. The distillery will build on our presence in Kentucky and we are committed to being a productive member of the local community.”

In order to build the site, Diageo will purchase approximately 300 acres of property located on Benson Pike in Shelby County.

The company expects the construction project to provide a significant number of jobs and anticipates employing approximately 30 people for whiskey distillation and maturation.

The plans have also been warmly received by the Kentucky Distillers’ Association and Kentucky governor Steve Beshar, who described the investment as “another feather in the cap for Kentucky’s Bourbon industry”.

Diageo said it hopes to receive necessary approval and commence work on the facility in the coming months, with the goal of having the distillery operational by 2016.

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