Diageo broke ground last Thursday on its new Shelby County, Kentucky distillery, which the company announced will officially be called "The Bulleit Distilling Co." after the distillery's flagship brand. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, and a number of other elected officials and Kentucky dignitaries, joined Diageo executives and Bulleit founder Tom Bulleit to celebrate the milestone.
This May, Diageo announced its intention to invest an estimated $115 million to build the 1.8 million proof gallon (750,000 9-litre cases) distillery and six barrel warehouses. In June, Shelby County's Triple S Planning Commission unanimously approved the distillery project. Along with Bulleit Bourbon, the facility will distill a number of current and future Diageo bourbon and North American Whiskey brands.
"Tom Bulleit has a genuine passion for his bourbon that he shares with everyone he meets. The growth of the Bulleit brand is the result of many years of investment and the relationships Tom has built," said Larry Schwartz, President, Diageo North America. "We are proud to be breaking ground on the new home of Bulleit Bourbon in this wonderful location in Shelby County. We look forward to becoming a valued member of the community for many years to come."
"When I walked away from my career as a lawyer to revive my great, great grandfather's high-rye bourbon recipe, people thought I was crazy," said Tom Bulleit. "Twenty-seven years into this entrepreneurial journey, it's humbling to know this amazing facility right here in Kentucky will bear my family's name. It's an honour I'm not sure I will ever fully be able to describe."
Diageo aims to have the distillery operational in late 2016. Diageo expects the construction phase will provide a significant number of jobs and anticipates employing approximately 30 people for whiskey distillation and maturation.
"Kentucky proudly welcomes The Bulleit Distilling Co. to the family of distilleries that comprise our state's signature bourbon industry," said Governor Steve Beshear. "Diageo's investment will not only contribute to Kentucky's thriving bourbon business, but will create quality jobs and offer an economic boost to Shelby County."