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Beam Suntory plans $400m distillery expansion

Jim Beam owner Beam Suntory has revealed plans to invest more than US$400 million to expand the Booker Noe Distillery in Kentucky.

Beam Suntory Jim Beam
The expansion will allow Beam Suntory to increase production of Jim Beam Bourbon

The investment will expand the capacity of the distillery in Boston, Nelson County. It is expected to create more than 50 full-time jobs.

“We are excited about this expansion opportunity at our Booker Noe site, building on our recent investment in the new consumer experience in Clermont, and now expanding production to ensure enough of our premium liquid is available wherever consumers are looking for them,” said Carlo Coppola, managing director of the James B Beam Distilling Co.

He added that the company is “finalising” its expansion plans and will share more details “very soon”.

The Fred B Noe Distillery was opened in Kentucky in September last year. It was part of Beam Suntory’s US$60m investment to bring back the James B Beam Distilling Co in Clermont.

“Jim Beam is a renowned name within Kentucky’s signature Bourbon industry, and I am thrilled to see the company continue to grow in our state,” Kentucky governor Andy Beshear said.

“This is a substantial investment in Nelson County that will ensure Jim Beam continues to grow in central Kentucky for decades to come.”

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) has preliminarily approved a 15-year agreement with Beam Suntory under the Kentucky Business Investment programme.

The performance-based agreement can offer up to US$3m in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of up to US$436.4m and annual targets of 51 jobs for Kentucky residents, as well an average hourly wage of US$51.

Additionally, the KEDFA has approved Beam Suntory for up to US$550,000 in tax incentives through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA). KEIA allows firms to recuperate Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment and electronic processing.

Based in Clermont, Kentucky, the James B Beam Distilling Co brands have been produced in the state since 1795.

Beam Suntory was formed in 2014 after Beam was acquired by Japan-based Suntory for US$16 billion. The company produces major spirits brands, including Courvoisier Cognac and Bowmore Scotch whisky.

The firm’s Bourbon portfolio includes Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Booker’s, Legent, Basil Hayden, Knob Creek and Baker’s.

In May, the James B Beam Distilling Co appointed Freddie Noe as the eighth-generation master distiller of the Fred B Noe Distillery.

Earlier this month, leading figures in the American whiskey industry gathered in London to raise a glass to the end of the UK’s tariff on the category.

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