Brown-Forman Corporation announced today that it intends to expand the Woodford Reserve Distillery to meet expected growing global demand for its super premium Woodford Reserve Kentucky Bourbon. The more than $35 million investment includes the addition of three new warehouses capable of housing more than 165,000 barrels of bourbon.
“Brown-Forman is proud to expand the Woodford Reserve Distillery, America’s oldest working distillery, located in the heart of Kentucky’s Bluegrass Region,” said Chris Morris, Master Distiller, Woodford Reserve. “The world’s growing taste for premium North American whiskey is driving record exports of these U.S. spirits. Woodford Reserve experienced a record volume of nearly 250,000 nine liter cases and grew net sales by 28% globally in fiscal 2013. We believe strong consumer interest in bourbon will continue and we’re expanding our production capacity in an effort to meet this demand.”
The expansion of the Woodford Reserve Distillery, located off McCracken Pike in Versailles, Kentucky, includes plans for the addition of three bourbon maturation warehouses, new stills, expansion of the existing bottling line, and improvements to increase general efficiency and productivity. It is projected to add 15 new jobs over the life of the project.
The three new pot stills, to be built as need dictates, will be made of copper and housed in the existing distillation building. Woodford Reserve Distillery was the first distillery to use copper pot stills and the triple distillation process to handcraft bourbon today.
To encourage the investment and job growth in Versailles, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $2.5 million 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 Brown-Forman for tax benefits up to $500,000 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.
Brown-Forman opened the Woodford Reserve Distillery and introduced Woodford Reserve Kentucky Bourbon in 1996. Since Woodford Reserve’s introduction, it has experienced double-digit growth rates each year.