Gov. Beshear, Augusta Distillery Break Ground on $23 Million Bracken County Operation, Creating At Least 14 Quality Jobs
FRANKFORT, KY (STL.News) Today, Gov. Andy Beshear joined officials in Bracken County and leaders from Augusta Distillery LLC to break ground on a new $23 million distillery that will create at least 14 full-time jobs for Kentuckians.
“I want to thank Augusta Distillery’s leadership for this commitment in Northeastern Kentucky,” Gov. Beshear said. “The commonwealth’s signature bourbon industry continues to grow, creating quality job opportunities for our residents and building toward the future. This project breathes new life into a historic building in Bracken County, and I look forward to seeing what this location will become in the years ahead.”
Augusta Distillery will be located in the historic F.A. Neider building on Seminary Avenue, which provided metal stamping services dating back to 1883 until its closure in 2007. The 40,000-square-foot building located on 1.8 acres will house Augusta Distillery’s first full-scale operation, with plans to reach full production capacity by summer 2024.
“The Augusta Distillery team is proud of our plan to build a state-of-the-art facility in Augusta, Kentucky,” said Judd Weis, co-founder and board vice chairman at Augusta Distillery. “We are creating an extraordinary distillery, guest experience and event center. Our hope is that, by delighting our consumers, this investment will create a spike in local tourism and additional economic opportunity for our neighbors in Augusta and Bracken County. We would like to thank the Commonwealth of Kentucky, City of Augusta and Bracken County for providing the support necessary to make this project a reality. This is a very exciting time for our team and our neighbors. Come visit us to have a taste and see our plans.”
Augusta Distillery was founded in Augusta, Kentucky, in July 2018. Company leaders are focused on creating authentic, curated bourbon-centric experiences in Augusta and across the United States. Augusta’s initial brand expression, Buckner’s 13-year single barrel cask strength bourbon, is distributed nationally and is available retail in Kentucky and Ohio. Augusta’s next product offering is expected to arrive later this year. The company was recently added as a Craft Member of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association.
Today’s groundbreaking continues recent growth of the commonwealth’s bourbon and spirits sector. Since the start of the Beshear administration, Kentucky’s spirits industry has seen more than 50 new-location or expansion announcements with over $1.1 billion in planned investments creating more than 900 announced full-time jobs. Currently, roughly 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. 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.
Rep. William Lawrence spoke on the economic impact the project will contribute to the area.
“I’m thrilled by what Augusta Distillery has planned and will bring to the region. I know how much positive impact this distillery project will bring,” Rep. Lawrence said. “I will continue to support Augusta Distillery and the people of Bracken and Mason counties.”
Bracken County Judge/Executive Tina Teegarden said the project contributes to a larger effort to create a brighter future throughout the region.
“Economic development and building tourism within the communities of our county are vital. We are pleased that the partners of the Augusta Distillery chose our beautiful river town, Augusta, to build and develop,” Judge Teegarden said. “I believe their growth and success will be immediate and I look forward to watching their new endeavor thrive along with all of Bracken County.”
Augusta Mayor Michael Taylor said the community is growing fast thanks to businesses like Augusta Distillery.
“Augusta’s tourism continues to grow. The river, our history and quaint town-center are the perfect place to spend a day or night,” Mayor Taylor said. “The Beehive Augusta Tavern on the riverbank and the newly renovated, 10-room Augusta Guest House are proof that things are happening in Augusta. We congratulate Augusta Distillery and are thrilled to have them in town and open to receive guests!”
Augusta’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.
In 2021, the commonwealth shattered every economic development record in the books. Private-sector new-location and expansion announcements included a record $11.2 billion in total planned investment and commitments to create a record 18,000-plus full-time jobs across the coming years. Kentucky’s average incentivized hourly wage for projects statewide in 2021 was $24 before benefits, a 9.4% increase over the previous year.
In the last year, the Beshear administration announced the two largest economic development projects in state history. In September 2021, Gov. Beshear and leaders from Ford Motor Co. and SK Innovation celebrated a transformative $5.8 billion investment that will create 5,000 jobs in Hardin County. And in April of this year, the Governor was joined by leadership at Envision AESC to announce a $2 billion investment that will create 2,000 jobs in Warren County. These announcements solidify Kentucky as the EV battery production capital of the United States.
The economic momentum has carried strongly into 2022, with both S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings upgrading Kentucky’s financial outlook to positive in recognition of the commonwealth’s surging economy.
For April 2022, the State Budget Director reported the highest-ever monthly General Fund receipts of $1.84 billion. That is up 34.9% over last April’s collections, bringing Kentucky’s year-to-date growth rate to 16.4%.
And Site Selection magazine placed Kentucky at 6th in its annual Prosperity Cup rankings for 2022, which recognizes state-level economic success based on capital investments.
To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in March approved the company for tax incentives through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA). KEIA allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing.