Thursday, May 29, 2014
Diageo Announces New $115M Kentucky Distillery
Diageo says it will spend about $115 million on a new, 1.8-million-gallon whiskey distillery in Shelby County, Kentucky. The site will cover 300 acres and include a distillery and six barrel storage warehouses, Diageo North America president Larry Schwartz announced earlier today. The exact location has not yet been determined but Schwartz said they expect to begin construction this year and start distilling by late 2016.
This project will “cement our commitment to expanding our share of the American whiskey category,” said Schwartz.
Journalist Fred Minnick reports that the new distillery will be on Benson Pike and include a 100 acre buffer zone to, among other things, avoid whiskey fungus issues with neighbors.
Diageo’s North American whiskey portfolio includes Bulleit Bourbon and Rye, I. W. Harper Bourbon (not sold in the U.S.), Crown Royal Canadian Whisky, George Dickel Tennessee Whiskey, and Seagram's 7 Crown American Blended Whiskey. Both Crown Royal and Seagram's 7 use bourbon whiskey as an ingredient.
Currently, Diageo has a maturation and blending facility, but no distillation, at the Stitzel-Weller Distillery in Louisville. The George Dickel Distillery in Tullahoma, Tennessee, has distillation, maturation, and hand-bottling. Most of Diageo's bottling for North America is done in Plainfield, Illinois, outside Chicago. Diageo is based in London. Its U.S. headquarters are in Norwalk, CT.
At 1.8-million-gallons, Diageo's new distillery will be the smallest major producer distillery in Kentucky. It will have about the same capacity as the Charles Medley Distillery in Owensboro, which was recently acquired by Terrasentia.