May 30, 2013 – Kentucky economic development officials have approved tax incentives for an expansion project at Maker’s Mark Distillery and preliminary approval for the proposed Angel’s Envy distillery project in Louisville.
The Louisville Courier-Journal reports Maker’s Mark plans an $8.2 million upgrade, including another new 50,000 barrel warehouse at its maturation complex in Loretto. Maker’s has already built three of the massive warehouses, and plans to build at least two more, according to Master Distiller Greg Davis in an interview with WhiskyCast’s Mark Gillespie last September. The distillery also plans what is being referred to as a “state of the art rinse process” facility at the distillery designed to “extract additional gallons” from each barrel of whisky. However, the specifics on that process have not been made available.
The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority has approved up to $100,000 in tax rebates on construction materials and equipment for the Maker’s Mark project. Meanwhile, the authority also gave preliminary approval to nearly $900,000 in assistance if the backers of Angel’s Envy build their proposed distillery in downtown Louisville.
Angel’s Share Brands LLC currently buys Bourbon stocks from other distillers for Angel’s Envy, but has been planning to build a distillery since the brand was launched in 2011. According to Business First and the Courier-Journal, the authority gave preliminary approval today for up to $800,000 in employee tax withholdings for up to 10 years, along with $72,000 in state sales tax rebates. The plan would allow the company to keep state income taxes withheld from employee paychecks instead of passing that money along to the state, while the employees would still be credited with paying those taxes. Employee tax withholdings are a common form of economic development incentive, since they are directly linked to jobs created by a project. The Angel’s Envy proposal calls for 40 new jobs with an annual payroll of $1.5 million over the first three years of operation, along with $10 million in capital investment to build the distillery.
Angel’s Envy is produced by the Louisville Distilling Company, which is led by Wes Henderson, the son of former Brown-Forman master distiller and Angel’s Envy creator Lincoln Henderson. The Hendersons have expressed a desire in previous WhiskyCast interviews to build a distillery in downtown Louisville, where local leaders are trying to bring back the city’s historic “Whiskey Row” along Main Street. The area is already the site of the new Evan Eilliams Bourbon Experience scheduled to open this fall, and the backers of Michter’s are trying to restore a historic Main Street building for use as a distillery. Wesley Henderson told the Courier-Journal today that a final decision on whether to move forward with the project has not been made.