Expansion underway at never-opened Hickman distillery
FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 27, 2021) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced startup bourbon producer Jackson Purchase Distillery LLC will upgrade a long-idled facility and create 30 well-paying jobs for Kentuckians as part of the company’s plans for a new, $8.76 million distilling operation in Fulton County.
“With today’s announcement, Kentucky notches yet another win for its signature bourbon industry and for our state’s post-pandemic economy,” Gov. Beshear said. “The outset of this development dates many years back, and I am proud that the leaders of Jackson Purchase Distillery are now taking the steps to make this venture a reality. The 30 high-quality jobs the company will create means more opportunity for the families of Fulton County and the surrounding region, adding to the commonwealth’s strong economic momentum.”
In March, Jackson Purchase Distillery’s management group acquired an unused distilling facility established several years prior by Memphis, Tennessee-based attorney Ray Jamieson. To bolster the nearly complete distillery, the company immediately began an expansion that will involve purchasing additional land, constructing barrel storage and making various upgrades throughout the facility. Company leaders expect to complete this expansion phase by April 2022.
The initial 30 positions at the facility will include a senior management team, a master distiller, a distiller in residence, an assistant distiller, a quality control manager, a plant manager and positions in boiler operations, grain processing, laboratory/data processing and regulatory compliance.
“We are very excited about the opportunity to start producing Kentucky bourbon in Fulton County,” said Lloyd R. Jones, president and CEO of Jackson Purchase Distillery. “We have been most fortunate to acquire the distillery and begin upgrading the facility. Support from the distillery industry and Commonwealth of Kentucky has been extremely helpful. We look forward to the start of production and hope to grow the business with a long-term plan in the years ahead.”
Once operational, the distillery will produce in excess of 25,000 barrels annually. The company will provide third-party distilling services, catering primarily to mid-size and large customers including brand-owned companies, distilleries needing additional capacity to meet demand and companies that purchase new production for future third-party sales. Jackson Purchase Distillery also plans to dedicate a segment of its business to fulfilling smaller orders from craft distillers.
The distillery will offer two to three different mash bills – the mixture of grains of which a whiskey consists – that will reflect the style of bourbon and rye typically produced in Kentucky. The company also will consider custom mash bills for larger production runs.
Jackson Purchase Distillery’s management team has a strong manufacturing background and includes Jones, COO David K. Salmon and Chairman Van Carlisle. The concept of acquiring the distillery and producing bourbon as a contract manufacturer started with a conversation between Jones and Salmon, who has 30-plus years of experience in the bourbon and distilling industry. Jones, a Fulton County native, was familiar with the Hickman facility, and eventually the management team formed a group to purchase the distillery.
The commonwealth is home to 66 spirits operations employing more than 5,100 people full-time statewide. In 2020, the industry announced 20 projects in Kentucky, totaling more than $300 million in new investment and nearly 230 projected jobs.
Jackson Purchase Distillery’s announcement is among four economic development projects Gov. Beshear announced today. Cumulatively, today’s announcements represent nearly $273 million in investments that will bring 505 well-paying jobs to Whitley, Shelby, Hardin and Fulton counties, furthering the Governor’s commitment to broad economic development in every region of the commonwealth.
Jackson Purchase Distillery’s announcement adds to a wave of recent economic momentum in the commonwealth, as the state builds back stronger following the effects of the pandemic. Earlier this month, Fitch Ratings improved the state’s financial outlook to stable, reflecting the commonwealth’s solid economic recovery. The state’s April sales tax receipts set an all-time monthly record at $486.5 million, as did vehicle usage tax receipts at over $64 million. In March, Site Selection magazine’s annual Governor’s Cup rankings for 2020 positioned Kentucky atop the South Central region, and third nationally, for qualifying projects per capita. The commonwealth also placed seventh overall in total projects, the highest of any state with a population under 5 million.
Fulton County Judge/Executive Jim Martin said the region is ready to embrace this new partnership with the company.
“We are very excited that Jackson Purchase Distillery has made the decision to invest in Fulton County,” Judge/Executive Martin said. “We look forward to a lasting relationship with this new industry and wish them the best of luck in this venture. Fulton County pledges to support Jackson Purchase Distillery, and we appreciate the confidence they have shown in our community by becoming a part of our corporate community.”
Hickman Mayor Heath Carlton said the distillery marks an encouraging development for the area.
The City of Hickman is excited with the opening of Jackson Purchase Distillery.
We are looking forward to the positive effects the job creation will have in the city as well as Fulton County,” Mayor Carlton said. “With Kentucky bourbon having a long history, we look forward to adding to that history while having bourbons available with hometown roots.”
To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in April preliminarily approved a 15-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $1 million in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of $8.76 million and annual targets of:
- Creation and maintenance of 30 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 15 years; and
- Paying an average hourly wage of $37 including benefits across those jobs.
By meeting its annual targets over the agreement term, the company can be eligible to keep a portion of the new tax revenue it generates. The company may claim eligible incentives against its income tax liability and/or wage assessments.
Additionally, Jackson Purchase Distillery 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.
For more information on Jackson Purchase Distillery, contact Lloyd Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A detailed community profile for Fulton County can be viewed here.
Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at www.CED.ky.gov. Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion at facebook.com/CEDkygov, on Twitter @CEDkygov and LinkedIn.
Read about other key updates, actions and information from Gov. Beshear and his administration at governor.ky.gov, kycovid19.ky.gov and the Governor’s official social media accounts Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.