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Covid-19 delays Fresh Bourbon Distilling construction plans

The coronavirus pandemic has halted plans to build the US$5.4 million Fresh Bourbon Distilling Co distillery in Lexington, Kentucky, which was due to break ground this summer.

Fresh Bourbon Distilling Co in Lexington will be the first Black-owned distillery in Kentucky

Husband and wife Sean and Tia Edwards revealed plans to build the 35,000-square-foot site near the Distillery District in Lexington in February this year. The site will be the first Black-owned distillery in Kentucky when it opens. The producer is yet to reveal the location of the new distillery.

The distillery was due to break ground this summer but has been pushed back to the end of the year, co-founder Sean Edwards told The Spirits Business last month.

The couple had invested US$200,000 in the distillery and hoped to raise US$10m through its latest round of funding, but the pandemic “shut everything down”. Edwards said: “We had talked to a few ambassadors, and with the uncertainty in the market, they needed to take a pause.”

The pair have now started speaking again with potential investors. Edwards hopes the next round of funding will be completed by September.

Fresh Bourbon Distilling’s co-founders Sean and Tia Edwards

Fresh Bourbon Distilling Co will offer tours and include a gift shop, a tasting room and a number of entertainment areas, along with a small concert space. The project will create around 25 jobs.

The company’s first product will be a Bourbon and there are plans to make other whiskeys, as well as a gin.

Fresh Bourbon recently announced the opening of pre-orders for its first release, which is expected to ship by late 2020 or early 2021. The first batch of Fresh Bourbon will be available to pre-order from 30 September 2020.

According to the distiller, the release marks the first grain-to-glass Bourbon developed in Kentucky by African-Americans. The Bourbon is said to have a rich and sweet flavour profile.

Fresh Bourbon’s recipe is being produced under contract through Hartfield & Co Distillery in Paris, Kentucky.

In December, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved a 10-year incentive deal with Fresh Bourbon Distilling through the Kentucky Business Investment Programme. The performance-based contract can provide up to US$200,000 in tax incentives based on the firm’s investment of US$5.4m and the meeting of a number of annual targets.

The KEDFA has also approved Fresh Bourbon Distilling Co for up to US$125,000 in tax incentives to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development, and electronic processing.

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