bourbon

Jim Beam

Striking Jim Beam workers at two Kentucky distilleries have accepted a contract offer, ending a walkout that lasted nearly a week.

United Food and Commercial Workers union official Tommy Ballard says workers approved the proposal on a 204-19 vote Friday and will return to work Monday. The strike began last Saturday when Beam workers at two distilleries turned down a prior offer.

The workers' main complaint with the world's leading bourbon producer was not money but time. The union wanted more full-time workers hired, rather than a greater reliance on temporary workers.

Jim Beam

Union workers at one of Kentucky’s biggest bourbon distillers are going on strike.

The decision impacts Jim Beam employees who are members of the local chapter of the United Food and Commercial Workers union.

The Kentucky Standard reports 201 workers voted to reject a contract offer by parent company Beam Suntory.

Nineteen voted to accept the offer.

Unless an agreement is reached soon, union workers will go on strike at midnight Friday.

Workers say they plan to protest with picket signs at the Jim Beam facility in Bullitt County, with a possible protest at the facility in Nelson County.

New Bourbon Distillery Opens in Nelson County

Sep 14, 2016
Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

A new distillery in the heart of Kentucky bourbon country is starting commercial production.

Bardstown Bourbon Co. reached the milestone Wednesday at the $25 million distillery at Bardstown. The distillery will make whiskey for its own brands and for small distillers and brand owners lacking sufficient distilling operations.

The company says it's already preparing to expand due to demand. It says the distillery's 1.5 million proof gallon capacity can be expanded to more than 6 million proof gallons within the current design. It says the expansion will allow the company to take on new customers.

The distillery plans to open its visitors and events center to the public in early 2017.

Leading its whiskey-distilling team is Steve Nally, a 40-year veteran of the spirits industry.

Crooked Tail Distillery Company / Facebook

Princeton’s first bourbon and moonshine distillery is open for business.

While Caldwell County is still a dry county, Princeton voted to allow in packaged and by the drink liquor sales in 2012.  

Patrick Sheridan says he and co-owner Chris Oakley have worked with city and economic leaders for over two years to develop the city’s first distillery since Prohibition.  

"In that time we have completely gutted and remodeled a 101-year-old building, which sits 50 yards from our water source, a natural limestone spring," said Sheridan. "Limestone strips out iron which gives your product a very smooth, clean finish. There's a reason the best bourbon in the world comes from Kentucky and mainly that's because this state sits atop limestone rock which makes some of the best water for bourbon."

Sheridan says all facets of the bourbon-making process are sourced locally.

Buffalo Trace Distillery Welcomes 1 Millionth Visitor

Sep 1, 2016
Kevin Willis

Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky has reached a milestone by welcoming its 1 millionth visitor.

The distillery in Frankfort says the unsuspecting visitor, from Lexington, was greeted with cheers, a balloon drop and a special prize pack at the Visitor Center on Wednesday. The celebration continued throughout the day with cupcakes and commemorative T-shirts for employees.

Distillery officials have been keeping track of visitations since the facility first opened for tours in 1999.

They say annual visitations have more than doubled in the past five years. Last year, the number of visitors increased by more than 23 percent. Visitors regularly come from all 50 states and a number of other countries.

Abbey Oldham, WKU Public Radio

Hartfield & Company opened their doors in September of 2015, making it the first bourbon distillery in Bourbon County since Prohibition. It’s a small craft operation that opened with little fanfare — but it’s already outgrown its space.

“We can’t keep our stuff on the shelf, actually,” says founder Andrew Buchanan. “We are currently in about 2,000 square feet, but to keep up with demand we need a much larger facility and are moving into about an 18,000-square-foot building.”

This is just one example of the “bourbon boom” that the spirit industry is experiencing, and it’s a development that has a real economic impact in the state. As part of the Kentucky Bourbon Affair — a six-day schedule of tours and tastings at local distilleries — Mayor Greg Fischer welcomed nearly 2,000 thirsty visitors to the city Tuesday.

“Today is National Bourbon Day, and there’s no better place to celebrate our signature spirit this week than Louisville,” Fischer said in a news release. “We look forward to sharing our unique Bourbon culture and booming culinary scene with a glass of Kentucky’s finest amber nectar.”

Rhonda J. Miller

The owner of the new Dueling Grounds Distillery in Franklin says he isn’t aiming to be one of the big guys on Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail.   

Marc Dottore will make smaller batches of bourbon in the craft distillery set to open in April.

"This kind of happened out of doing some Bourbon Trail tours and seeing how it was made at a large scale, and then finding out there was this whole world of smaller people in the 200 to 300 gallon capacity making really good, hand-crafted quality spirits," says Dottore. "I thought that’s something I could aspire to. I like that.”

Dottore says his distillery near I-65 is well-positioned to be part of the Kentucky Craft Bourbon Trail. That route currently includes Corsair Artisan Distillery in Bowling Green, MB Roland Distillery in Christian County, and Wilderness Trail Distillery in Boyle County.

Sometime next year, a new bourbon distillery will open at the site of the former Old Taylor Distillery near Frankfort. Leading the project is master distiller Marianne Barnes, the first woman to hold the title in modern times.

The forthcoming distillery is backed by Will Arvin and Wesley Murry, who asked Barnes to partner with them. The distillery would breathe new life into an abandoned 130-acre property that was once a grand showplace for historic distiller Col. Edmund Haynes Taylor Jr.

Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

Kentucky’s distillers want to be able to sell drinks by the glass, just like wineries and breweries.

Current state law prohibits distilleries from selling drinks to visitors, something spirits producers say costs them money. Distillers can offer guests a tasting as part of a tour, but each person is limited to a total of one ounce of liquor.

Kentucky Distillers’ Association Director of Governmental and Regulatory Affairs Kristin Meadors says her group has been speaking with lawmakers and is prepared to help craft legislation ahead of the 2016 General Assembly.

Meadors believes allowing distilleries to sell to visitors the bourbon, rye, vodka, and other spirits they produce on site would help elevate the Kentucky distillery experience to what is found in other parts of the country.

“When you go to a winery in Napa, what do you do? They provide you with a flight, and you purchase a flight for sometimes 20, 30, or 50 bucks. And so you sit there and enjoy it, and you pair it with some wonderful foods,” Meadors told WKU Public Radio.

“So we want you to linger a little bit more, experience a distillery, and pair the bourbon with some great Kentucky Proud products that we have across the state.”

The changes sought by the KDA would allow a distillery visitor to purchase a shot of a small batch spirit, a flight of spirits, or a cocktail.

Andrew Buchanan

Bourbon County will soon have its first locally-produced bourbon on the market since Prohibition.

The Gentleman Distillery is located in downtown Paris, and is aging its whiskey in much smaller barrels and for shorter amounts of time than most bourbon producers. Co-owner and head distiller Andrew Buchanan says their bourbon will stay in the barrels for four to five months—as opposed to years.

“We can really push through and get a product to market a whole lot quicker, which obviously helps smaller, startup distilleries get a product with some age, and color, and taste.

A former Buffalo Trace Distillery guard pleaded guilty today to aiding a theft ring that allegedly sold thousands of bottles of bourbon illegally.

Thirty-five year old Leslie Wright of Frankfort is accused of taking payments from members of a crime syndicate in exchange for allowing them to steal 11 barrels of bourbon from Buffalo Trace.

The Courier-Journal reports Wright has agreed to a plea deal that could allow her to avoid jail time. She has agreed to testify against others, and pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor charge of facilitation to receive stolen property over $10,000.

Wright is one of ten people charged in what prosecutors have described as an organized effort to steal and sell bourbon and steroids. Nine others were indicted in April, including a Buffalo Trace employee accused of running the operation since 2008.

Four Roses to Expand Production Capacity at Two Locations

May 28, 2015
Four Roses

A Kentucky bourbon distillery is planning a $55 million expansion at two different locations.

Four Roses plans to invest $34 million to add production capacity at its Lawrenceburg distillery. A separate $21 million investment will add new warehouses at its Bullitt County property.

The projects will receive over $1 million in state tax incentives.

The news comes on the heels of an announcement earlier this springs that Four Roses was expanding its Bullitt County bottling plant that will include a high-speed production line and a separate line producing a single-barrel version of the bourbon.

Kevin Willis

Kentucky's two U.S. senators have introduced legislation they say will level the playing field for American bourbon and whiskey producers.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office said in a news release Monday that unlike most other spirits, bourbon and whiskey producers must capitalize interest expense that's incurred to finance inventories and it isn't deductible until the product is sold, as long as 23 years after the liquor is aged. The release said in the U.K., spirit producers may deduct interest the year it's capitalized.

McConnell and Sen. rand Paul on Monday introduced a bill that would allow American bourbon and whiskey makers to deduct interest associated with production in the year it's paid.

McConnell said more than 15,000 jobs in Kentucky are related to the bourbon industry, which produces billions of dollars for the state's economy.

Craft bourbon, like craft beer, is in the midst of a boom: In the past 15 years, the number of distilleries in the U.S. has surged from just a handful to around 600.

Nine people have been indicted on charges of stealing what Kentucky authorities say was more bourbon whiskey than one person could drink in a lifetime.

The indictments were handed up Tuesday. Prosecutors allege the scheme led by rogue distillery workers lasted for years and involved tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of whiskey.

Authorities say two distilleries were targeted — the Buffalo Trace and Wild Turkey distilleries.

They allege the criminal syndicate operated since 2008 or 2009, and that the recovered whiskey alone is worth at least $100,000.

The indictments tie together two highly publicized heists in the world’s bourbon-producing hub — the theft of barrels of Wild Turkey bourbon earlier this year and the disappearance of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon.

Pages