Every car lover has that dream of making a ‘barn find’ right? You know, kind of how you just happened to stumble across that iconic 1968 Ford Mustang GT that Steve McQueen drove in the film Bullitt. Sure it may have some dents and dings but come on it’s the Bullitt. Perhaps no distillery falls quite into this category but they do seem to be pop up now and again. In the case of the new, yet old, Jackson Purchase Distillery it’s certainly not an ancient classic but it is a large volume, distillery built around 2008 that has never been run.
Yes, this distillery was fully built with a cooker, fermentation tanks, a large Vendome Copper & Brass Works copper column still and more but its never made an ounce of bourbon. This distillery has been sitting idle for some 13 lucky years.
Will the 3rd Time Be a Charm for this Long Idle Distillery?
Back in 2003 Memphis, Tennessee-based attorney Ray Jamieson incorporated the Jamieson’s Distillery – AKA: Fulton County Distillery. In 2008 he actually built the distillery and had all the equipment installed to create a large scale distillery but as far as we know, it’s never been operational. What is often referred to as the Jamieson Distillery has never been run.
In 2018 it was announced the distillery had been sold and would re-start operations as the RH Resolute Distillery. The new owners had plans to start out making 400 barrels per week and then ramp up to 2,600 barrels per week. Unfortunately, those plans went belly up and the distillery continued to sit idle.
Jackson Purchase Distillery to Invest $8.76 Million
In March 2021, Jackson Purchase Distillery’s management group acquired the long dormant distillery. The company plans to invest $8.76 million in the long-idled facility and create 30 new jobs. The bourbon world has changed a lot in the past 13 years since this distillery was originally built so the first thing the new owners did was to immediately start an expansion that will involve purchasing additional land, constructing barrel storage and making various upgrades throughout the facility. Company leaders expect to complete this expansion phase by April 2022.
“Kentucky notches yet another win for its signature bourbon industry and for our state’s post-pandemic economy,” said Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear. “The outset of this development dates many years back, and I am proud that the leaders of Jackson Purchase Distillery are now taking the steps to make this venture a reality. The 30 high-quality jobs the company will create means more opportunity for the families of Fulton County and the surrounding region, adding to the commonwealth’s strong economic momentum.”
The initial 30 positions at the facility will include a senior management team, a master distiller, a distiller in residence, an assistant distiller, a quality control manager, a plant manager and positions in boiler operations, grain processing, laboratory/data processing and regulatory compliance.
“We are very excited about the opportunity to start producing Kentucky bourbon in Fulton County,” said Lloyd R. Jones, president and CEO of Jackson Purchase Distillery. “We have been most fortunate to acquire the distillery and begin upgrading the facility. Support from the distillery industry and Commonwealth of Kentucky has been extremely helpful. We look forward to the start of production and hope to grow the business with a long-term plan in the years ahead.”
Stay Informed: Sign up here for the Distillery Trail free email newsletter and be the first to get all the latest news, trends, job listings and events in your inbox.
Jackson Purchase Distillery to Produce 25,000+ Barrel Per Year
Once operational, the distillery is expected to produce in excess of 25,000 barrels annually or about 480 per week. For comparison purposes Wilderness Trail Distillery in Danville, Kentucky makes 200 to 230 barrels of bourbon a week. The company will provide third-party distilling services, catering primarily to mid-size and large customers including brand-owned companies, distilleries needing additional capacity to meet demand and companies that purchase new production for future third-party sales. Jackson Purchase Distillery also plans to dedicate a segment of its business to fulfilling smaller orders from craft distillers.
The distillery will offer two to three different mash bills – the mixture of grains of which a whiskey consists – that will reflect the style of bourbon and rye typically produced in Kentucky. The company also will consider custom mash bills for larger production runs.
Jackson Purchase Distillery’s management team has a strong manufacturing background and includes Jones, COO David K. Salmon and Chairman Van Carlisle. The concept of acquiring the distillery and producing bourbon as a contract manufacturer started with a conversation between Jones and Salmon, who has 30-plus years of experience in the bourbon and distilling industry. Jones, a Fulton County native, was familiar with the Hickman facility, and eventually the management team formed a group to purchase the distillery.
“We are very excited that Jackson Purchase Distillery has made the decision to invest in Fulton County,” said Fulton County Judge/Executive Martin. “We look forward to a lasting relationship with this new industry and wish them the best of luck in this venture. Fulton County pledges to support Jackson Purchase Distillery, and we appreciate the confidence they have shown in our community by becoming a part of our corporate community.”
“The City of Hickman is excited with the opening of Jackson Purchase Distillery,” said Hickman Mayor Heath Carlton. “We are looking forward to the positive effects the job creation will have in the city as well as Fulton County. With Kentucky bourbon having a long history, we look forward to adding to that history while having bourbons available with hometown roots.”
To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in April preliminarily approved a 15-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $1 million in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of $8.76 million and annual targets of:
- Creation and maintenance of 30 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 15 years; and
- Paying an average hourly wage of $37 including benefits across those jobs.
By meeting its annual targets over the agreement term, the company can be eligible to keep a portion of the new tax revenue it generates. The company may claim eligible incentives against its income tax liability and/or wage assessments.
Additionally, Jackson Purchase Distillery can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies can receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives.
Photos: All photos courtesy of ‘Taylor’ Hudson William, A Southern Photographer.