Blue Run Spirits has announced it is building a new $51 million distillery in Georgetown, Kentucky. The project will include a 35,000-square-foot distillery and a 20,000-square-foot rickhouse and will serve as the company’s first vertically integrated distilling operation and future headquarters. Capital investment will go toward the purchase of distilling equipment, site acquisition and construction costs, as well as other startup-related expenditures.
“When we started Blue Run Spirits in October of 2020, we never imagined a distillery would be in our future, but our unprecedented growth has deemed that a necessity, which is an incredibly exciting prospect for our entire team,” said Blue Run Spirits CEO and Co-founder Mike Montgomery.
“The generous support of the commonwealth is making this a reality. We look forward to becoming a dynamic contributor to the economic vibrancy of Scott County and Georgetown and deepening our connection to an area so significant in the rich history and the promising future of bourbon in Kentucky.”
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear proclaimed, “Our state’s bourbon industry continues to build momentum and reach new heights. This investment by Blue Run Spirits is a welcome addition to the Georgetown and Scott County community and the Kentucky bourbon and tourism scene. I want to thank the company’s leadership for their vision to grow in the commonwealth and add to Kentucky’s position as the bourbon capital of the world.”
10 Releases and $15 Million in Sales in Just 2 Years
Blue Run Spirits was founded in October 2020 and has released 10 bourbons and rye whiskies. Their releases includes sourced whiskies as well as whiskies they’ve contract distilled at other distilleries. This year’s volume is expected to quintuple its 2021 total, with sales projected at approximately $15 million. Volume of sales in 2022 is anticipated to reach 50,000 4.5-liter cases, with an anticipated rise to 85,000 to 100,000 cases in 2023.
Many of the company’s products have received accolades from well-respected spirits competitions across the country. For example, the prestigious worldwide San Francisco World Spirits Competition has awarded numerous prizes to Blue Run products in multiple categories.
The company’s founders include a Nike designer, the first director-level employee at Facebook, a hospitality executive, a political advisor, and a philanthropist – all huge whiskey fans and individuals who acutely understand how to build demand and buzz for a contemporary consumer product. They are backed by a team of advisors including Nike marketing experts; the Campari communications veteran behind Wild Turkey and the Aperol Spritz; a former spirits distributor; and others with deep industry experience. The Blue Run name is a nod to one of our founder’s upbringing in Georgetown, Kentucky.
Since its founding Blue Run Spirits distilling has been led by Liquid Adviser and Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame Master Distiller Jim Rutledge. In February of this year Blue Run hired Shaylyn Gammon as its first Whiskey Director to drive the development and expansion of Blue Run’s whiskey portfolio. Gammon comes from Campari Group, where she managed product innovation projects across the company’s North American portfolio. She worked closely with the Bourbon Hall of Fame duo of Jimmy and Eddie Russell on Wild Turkey whiskies, in particular brand extensions such as Master’s Keep, Rare Breed, Russell’s Reserve and Matthew McConaughey’s Longbranch. She is a member of the Bourbon Women Association; Women of the Vine and Spirits; and Louisville Women Leaders and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky in food science. She will serve as a distillation apprentice to Rutledge.
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Georgetown Community Leaders React to the Blue Run Spirits News
Scott County Judge/Executive Joe Covington said he is excited to build on the rich tradition of Kentucky bourbon in the area and bring quality jobs to the community.
“Blue Run Spirits’ proposed facility in Georgetown will have a substantial positive impact on jobs, local business revenue, tourism and raising the profile of Georgetown and Scott County worldwide,” said Judge Covington. “Having the first distillery established in Scott County since prohibition based in Georgetown, the hometown of Elijah Craig and the birthplace of bourbon, is a significant milestone for the entire commonwealth of Kentucky, particularly the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. We can’t thank Blue Run Spirits enough for selecting this location to build the foundation for their very promising future.”
Georgetown Mayor Tom Prather said he looks forward to building a successful partnership with the company.
“Sometimes things align perfectly. This is the right company at the right time and in the right place.” Mayor Prather said. “We welcome Blue Run Spirits to Georgetown and our Lanes Run Business Park! Blue Run Spirits’ distillery will produce outstanding premium-level bourbon here, and we could not be more proud of being their home. This is a remarkable opportunity for Georgetown and Scott County from the perspectives of economic development, job creation, tourism and cache. Blue Run is a homerun addition to our business park. Thank you, Blue Run, for selecting Georgetown for this important investment.”
Jack Conner, executive director with Scott County United, said he is thrilled to welcome such a quality company to the area.
“The Blue Run Spirits project is another perfect example of diversification of our Georgetown/Scott County economy and will give greater visibility to our bourbon heritage and tourism industry,” said Conner. “A most welcome and significant investment.”
Blue Run Spirits’ investment and planned job creation furthers recent economic momentum in the commonwealth, as the state builds back stronger from the effects of the pandemic.
Blue Run Spirits to Create 45 New Jobs
The investment also will create a projected 45 full-time jobs for local residents, including operations and administrative positions.
To encourage investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) last Thursday preliminarily approved a 10-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $700,000 in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of $50,976,430 and annual targets of:
- Creation and maintenance of 45 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 10 years; and
- Paying an average hourly wage of $31.92 including benefits across those jobs.
Additionally, KEDFA approved Blue Run Spirits for up to $150,000 in tax incentives through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA). KEIA allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing.
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.
In addition, Blue Run Spirits can receive resources from Kentucky’s workforce service providers. Those include no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job-training incentives.
Blue Run Spirits Available in 15+ States
Blue Run Spirits is now distributed in 15 U.S. states including California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Washington D.C. plus online through Seelbach’s and on the Blue Run Spirits website.