Willett plans $93m Kentucky distillery

American whiskey maker Willett Distillery will invest nearly US$93 million in building a new production facility in Kentucky.

Family-owned Willett Distillery, which operates a site in Bardstown, Kentucky, will construct a new 70,000-square-foot facility in the city of Springfield.

To meet ‘growing demand’ for its Bourbon and rye whiskey brands, the company will build a new distillery, barrel storage warehouses and a water storage area for fire prevention.

Construction of the facility in Kentucky’s Washington County is due to begin in January 2023. The project is expected to create 35 full-time jobs.

Drew Kulsveen, master distiller and director of operations, Willett Distillery, said: “The Springfield community has graciously welcomed us with the same warmth and attentiveness that we try to show our guests every day.

“We are grateful for the kindness and support we have received from the Springfield community and for the continued support of our Bardstown home.”

Founded in 1936, Willett Distillery employs 67 people and hosts more than 80,000 guests annually. The company’s 11 brands are distributed in 40 US states.

Bourbon is an almost US$9 billion industry in Kentucky, generating more than 22,500 jobs with an annual payroll that exceeds US$1.23bn, according to the state’s Cabinet for Economic Development.

Since the start of Kentucky governor Andy Beshear’s administration in December 2019, more than 60 spirits-related announcements have generated approximately US$2.5bn in new investment and created more than 1,300 full-time jobs.

“Kentucky’s Bourbon industry is experiencing incredible momentum throughout the entire state,” said Beshear. “The demand for our Bourbon is stronger than ever, and that’s a testament to the companies and distillers we have in the commonwealth who produce high-quality, world-class Bourbon.

“Willett Distillery, which has been a staple of Kentucky Bourbon for over eight decades, is bringing quality jobs to Washington County.”

In October, Willett Distillery partnered with rock band Kings of Leon to launch a limited edition Bourbon and rye whiskey collection.

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Author: Nicola Carruthers