Brown-Forman Corporation will invest approximately $30 million to build an Old Forester Distillery in Louisville, Kentucky, creating up to 20 jobs in Jefferson County.
Brown-Forman will open a distillery and bourbon experience for its founding brand, Old Forester, in two historic buildings at 117 and 119 Main St. in Louisville. The combined buildings have approximately 55,000 square feet with 52 linear feet facing Main Street. The investment will include renovating the buildings and purchasing equipment. The new distillery will be able to distill 100 percent of Old Forester’s business today.
In addition to production, the distillery also would serve as a home place for the Old Forester brand. The facility would be open to tours and feature a tasting room, exhibits, bourbon-making demonstrations and event spaces.
“George Garvin Brown introduced Old Forester, America’s first bottled bourbon, more than 140 years ago, and with that, he changed our industry and Louisville community forever,” said Paul Varga, CEO of Brown-Forman Corporation. “As demand for high quality bourbon continues to increase, the Old Forester Distillery will enable us to expand capacity to share not only one of the greatest tasting bourbons with more of the world, and share the story of one of Kentucky’s bourbon icons.”
To encourage the investment and job growth in Louisville, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $900,000 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 Brown-Forman for tax benefits up to $410,000 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.
“Bourbonism is real and just keeps growing in our city and our state,” said Mayor Fischer. “Not only is Brown-Forman growing one of its strongest brands, it also is redeveloping two key structures in a historic block of our downtown, which will encourage more investment, more stability and more growth.”
In addition to Old Forester, Brown-Forman Corporation produces numerous quality brands, including Jack Daniel’s, Southern Comfort, Finlandia, Herradura, Early Times and Woodford Reserve. The company was founded in 1870 by George Garvin Brown in Louisville. Today, the company is still headquartered in Louisville and employs nearly 4,200 people worldwide.
“I am happy to see that Brown-Forman is bringing the Old Forester Distillery to Whiskey Row,” said Sen. Gerald Neal, of Louisville. “The renovation of the buildings will add value to all of the property on West Main Street, and the additional job opportunities and the boost to the local economy will allow our community to reap rewards through this successful industry. We are ready with a dedicated and skilled workforce to meet the distillery’s needs and look forward to a long corporate partnership with Old Forester Distillery and Brown-Forman.”