FRANKFORT — Jim Beam is expanding and investing $400 million in its operation in Nelson County.
Gov. Andy Beshear announced this investment in Kentucky’s bourbon industry as Beam Suntory will expand the capacity of Jim Beam Brands Co. and create more than 50 full-time jobs at the Booker Noe Distillery in Boston, according to a new release from the governor’s office.
“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,” Gov. Beshear said in the release. “This is a substantial investment in Nelson County that will ensure Jim Beam continues to grow in Central Kentucky for decades to come. Thank you to the leaders at the company for once again showing faith in our state and our incredible workforce.”
According to the release, the James B. Beam Distilling Co. brands based in Clermont have been produced in the state since 1795. Beam Suntory was formed in 2014 after the company was acquired by Japan-based Suntory Holdings. Beam Suntory is one of the world’s largest producers of premium spirits, with products that include a range of whiskeys, cognacs, gins, vodkas and rum. Major bourbon brands include Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Booker’s, Legent, Basil Hayden, Knob Creek and Baker’s.
“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. “We appreciate the continued support of Gov. Beshear and his administration of the bourbon industry and these incentives will enable us to bring more great jobs to Kentucky. We are still finalizing our plans and will have more details to share very soon.”
This investment adds to recent bourbon and spirits growth throughout the commonwealth, the release said. Since the start of the Beshear administration, Kentucky’s spirits industry has announced more than 50 new-location or expansion projects totaling over $1.1 billion in planned investments and creating more than 900 announced full-time jobs.
Currently, approximately 60 spirits facilities directly employ more than 5,300 people. Kentucky’s bourbon sector is a nearly $9 billion signature industry, generating more than 22,500 jobs with an annual payroll exceeding $1.23 billion, according to the release.
Gov. Beshear also worked with U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to remove harmful bourbon tariffs on trade with the United Kingdom and European Union, ensuring continuing strength in the export market, the release said.
Nelson County Judge/Executive Dean Watts said the project adds to the company’s significant presence in the region.
“We are very excited to see the expansion of the Booker Noe Distillery in Boston. This giant investment will add to the already very large footprint of Jim Beam in Nelson County,” Watts said in the release. “The art of making great bourbon is so important to the bourbon heritage that we take pride in, and Jim Beam is top shelf.”
Kim Huston, president of the Nelson County Economic Development Agency, is glad to see the global brand continue to grow.
“It’s always exciting when we are able to celebrate the expansion of one of our companies. I want to thank Jim Beam for making this tremendous investment in Nelson County,” Huston said in the release. “Jim Beam is considered family as their history of making great bourbon goes back decades and generations. The future of Jim Beam is bright as this expansion will allow production to increase, and we will be able to see even more bottles of Beam products available in the United States and across the globe.”
To encourage investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) today preliminarily approved a 15-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $3 million in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of up to $436.4 million and meeting annual targets, the release said.
Beam Suntory’s investment and planned job creation furthers recent economic momentum in the commonwealth, as the state builds back stronger from the effects of the pandemic.