Thursday, 05 08, 2014
Historic distillery abandoned for more than 40 years
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Steve Beshear today announced Peristyle LLC plans to restore and reopen the historic Old Taylor Distillery in Woodford County.
Peristyle will renovate the 125-year-old facility and distill spirits, primarily bourbon. The company plans to invest up to $6.1 million and create 10 full-time jobs.
“This is exciting news on so many levels,” said Gov. Beshear. “Not only will Peristyle’s investment further solidify Kentucky’s bourbon legacy and create more jobs, but it also signals the renaissance of one of the state’s most historic and iconic distilleries. I want to thank Peristyle for restoring this proud tradition.”
The company will spend the next 18 months restoring elements of the 83-acre complex, updating existing infrastructure with the goal of being operational in the fall of 2015. Peristyle will restore key buildings and areas in phases so the location can be opened for tourism and events.
“The Old Taylor Distillery is one of the most remarkable landmarks in central Kentucky,” said Will Arvin, an executive at Peristyle LLC. “We believe that in the context of growth in demand for Kentucky-produced spirits worldwide, its location in the heart of the most productive bourbon distilling region and the need for additional food and hospitality options in an area experiencing growing tourism, this one-of-a-kind property holds great promise to become a prime destination for tourists and Kentuckians alike.”
Built in 1887, the Old Taylor Distillery was once considered a showcase of bourbon making in Kentucky, where one of the world’s largest stills and one of the longest bourbon warehouses are still in place. Founder E.H. Taylor is known as the father of the modern bourbon industry for his key role in the passage of the Bottled in Bond Act of 1897, which ended the widespread adulteration of distilled spirits.
Old Taylor was the first distillery to reach 1 million U.S. Government certified cases of straight bourbon. A drop in demand forced the distillery to close in 1972, and the property has since fallen into severe disrepair. The complex was highly regarded for its beauty, which includes an ornate, colonnaded spring house, sunken gardens, a fish pond and limestone buildings.
“This investment shows Peristyle’s commitment to Woodford County and the Commonwealth and is a tribute to our dedicated and skilled workforce,” said Sen. Julian Carroll, of Frankfort. “It means additional job opportunities and a boost to the economy, while contributing to Kentucky’s booming bourbon industry. I am pleased with the company’s commitment to restoring and reopening the historic Old Taylor Distillery and future restoration projects. Peristyle is a good corporate partner, and I wish them continued success.”
“Today’s announcement further solidifies the sizable role that Millville and Woodford County are playing in the bourbon industry,” said Rep. James Kay, of Versailles. “I want to thank Peristyle for making such a large investment and helping us return distilleries like Old Taylor to their glory days. I cannot wait to see what this company is able to do with this facility and what it will mean for our community once it’s operational. I also want to thank Gov. Beshear and his administration for their work in helping to make all of this possible.”
“We would like to welcome Peristyle LLC as our newest corporate citizen,” said Woodford County Judge-Executive John Coyle. “We’re thankful not just for its economic impact, but also for preserving an historic landmark that means so much to the people in our community.”
“It’s been a goal this past year to find a company with the passion to preserve this historic distillery and bring new jobs to our community,” said John Soper, chairman of the Woodford County Economic Development Authority. “We believe we found the right blueprint with Peristyle LLC at a time when Kentucky’s bourbon industry is at its height.”
Bourbon distilling contributes nearly $2 billion in gross state product each year and has more than doubled its importance to the state’s overall economic activity in the past 13 years. Kentucky exported $383 million of its distilled spirits in 2013, a full 21 percent of the U.S. total.
To encourage the investment and job creation in Woodford County, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $200,000 through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the term of the agreement through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.
KEDFA also approved the company for tax benefits up to $50,000 through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act, which allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing equipment.
Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at www.ThinkKentucky.com. Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion on Facebook or follow on Twitter. Watch the Cabinet’s “This is My Kentucky” video on YouTube.
A detailed community profile for Versailles (Woodford County) can be viewed here.