Is Bardstown, Kentucky, the “Bourbon Capital of the World” about to land another new distillery? It certainly looks that way based on a preliminary approval of tax incentives from the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA.)
The Kentucky Owl Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey brand became an endangered species around the time of Prohibition and completely disappeared in 1916. Nearly a hundred years later in 2014 fifth generation Dixon Dedman resurrected C.M. Dedman’s original Kentucky Owl Bourbon. The brand quickly built a cult like following and was snatched up for an undisclosed amount in January 2017 by Stoli Group USA, LLC.
Kentucky Owl Bourbon to Anchor a Whiskey Line for Stoli
When Stoli purchased the brand, they released this statement. “When we began considering American whiskies, we were attracted to Kentucky Owl because of its complex, yet very smooth taste profile,” imparted Dmitry Efimov, CEO of S.P.I. Group. “Upon sitting down with the owners and hearing the story, we became really enthusiastic about revitalizing the brand and concluded that this would be the bourbon to anchor a whiskey line for S.P.I. Our USA team is poised to bring this to market.”
And Patrick Piana, President of Stoli Group USA, said, “I’m looking forward to working together with Dixon Dedman to accelerate the trusted product his family built into the cult bourbon brand for the North American brown spirits consumer.”
They haven’t wasted anytime in making good on their investment. In August they announced they had expanded distribution for the bourbon brand from one state to seven and they released 2,535 bottles of eight to 13 year bourbon with a suggested retail price of $200 per bottle.
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Strigiformes Receives Preliminary Approval for $150 Million Distillery Project
Now, according to a Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority report a new company by the name of Strigiformes, LLC has applied for Kentucky state tax incentives of $2 Million. The report doesn’t mention Kentucky Owl by name but according to Merriam-Webster, here’s what Strigiformes means.
plural noun | Strig·i·for·mes
:an order of birds of prey that comprises the owls and is usually divided into the families Tytonidae and Strigidae.
The report says, “SPI Group is an independent company headquartered in Luxembourg with production facilities in the US, Mexico, Argentina, Latvia and Spain. The group’s mission it to build a portfolio of select premium drink brands by controlling and perfecting every stage of the process, from cultivation to distribution. The company, through its subsidiary Strigiformes, LLC, is considering property in Bardstown to establish a distillery, rickhouses, visitor’s center and other related facilities for the production of bourbon.”
New Distillery Facility Details
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Anticipated Project Investment – Owned, Eligible Costs, Total Investment
Other Startup Costs, “$5,000,000”, “$5,000,000”
TOTAL, “$124,890,000”, “$149,750,000”
Total Negotiated Tax Incentive, ,”$2,000,000”
Kentucky Owl Website Drops a Hint to What’s Next
There hasn’t been an official release from Strigiformes or Stoli about the project but if you connect the dots from these statements from the Kentucky Own website, it’s pretty clear what is about to take flight.
“Very little dust ever settles on a bottle of Kentucky Owl. They’re usually flying out the door as soon as the labels go on and the ink dries on the handwritten batch and bottle numbers.
And if Dixon can make bourbon like this out of the back of the family inn, just wait ‘til he gets his hands on a distillery. But, each new batch will always be an original, carefully crafted by the master blender, Dixon himself.
Stay tuned – and keep a glass handy.”
How Big is This Project? Really Big!
Keep in mind, these are preliminary numbers and things can change up or down. To help put the size of this build in perspective when Bardstown Bourbon Company announced their original plans to build a distillery that included an estimated price tag of $25 million. They have since expanded operations from the original 1.5 million proof gallons to 3 million and have recently announced plans to expand again to 6 million proof gallons. The Luxco distillery in Bardstown, now named Lux Row Distillers is a $35 million dollar project. And the Diageo distillery in Shelbyville, KY built for Bulleit Distilling Co. was a $115 million project. In other words, Kentucky Owl Bourbon may have to change its name to Kentucky Condor Bourbon!
We’ll keep you posted.
Kentucky Owl Bourbon Releases Batch #7, Expands Distribution from 1 to 7 States
Stoli Group Gets its Talons into the US Whiskey Market with Acquisition of Kentucky Owl Bourbon
Houston, The 50 Foot Still Has Landed – At Bardstown Bourbon Company [Photos]
Bulleit Distilling Co. Cuts Ribbon on New $115 Million Distillery
New Distillery from Luxco Coming to Kentucky Bourbon Trail