The majority of larger distilleries in Kentucky fall somewhere within what’s sometimes referred to as the “Amber Triangle,” a region of central Kentucky located roughly between Lexington, Louisville and Loretto. That triangle of large distilleries has shifted a bit recently with the opening of the O.Z. Tyler Distillery in Owensboro and now the just announced opening of the RH Resolute Distillery in Hickman. The RH Resolute Distillery sits in the western corner of the state bordering Kentucky, Tennessee and Missouri along the Mississippi River.
The RH Resolute Distillery is a brand new distillery, wait, check that, it’s a distillery that was built in 2008 but it has never actually been operational for the last 10 years. Well, that’s about to change thanks to a $9.7 million investment lead by Mike Haney, the founder of Hillbilly Stills and HBS Copper, the commercial side of Hillbilly Stills in Barlow, KY.
Starting with 400 Barrels a Week Ramping Up to 2,600 Barrels a Week
The company plans to finish construction and outfitting of a previous distillery project and begin distilling for the bulk spirits market by late summer. Initially, the operation’s production will target 400 barrels per week and increase to a projected maximum capacity of 2,600 barrels weekly. The company will create 17 new jobs including production, barrel filling, barrel handling and equipment maintenance positions.
The startup distillery is the result of a partnership that began in Paducah, KY. The group is made up of Mike Haney – Chairman of the Board, his son and business partner at HBS, Matt Haney – Chief Operations Officer, Chuck Jones – President/CEO and Chuck’s wife Sarah Coursey Jones – Brand Director.
The company’s distilling operations will be lead by a 15-year spirits industry veteran, Master Distiller Thomas McKenzie. McKenzie has worked for many years as a consultant and was at one-time the distiller for Finger Lakes Distilling in New York state.
Jamieson’s Distillery – AKA: Fulton County Distillery Established 2003
The group purchased a nearly complete distillery built by W. Ray Jamieson, a Memphis attorney with ties to the Western Kentucky area. The Jamieson Distillery, also known as the Fulton County Distillery was originally incorporated in November 2003, more than 14 years ago. Although the facility never opened, the Haney’s indicated it is well constructed and includes the original continuous beer still, fermenters and other equipment built and installed by Vendome Copper & Brass Works. Not surprisingly, RH Resolute Distillery plans to use equipment from HBS in its future distilling operations.
“The opportunity to make great bourbon in Hickman is exciting for us and we are proud to welcome talented folks from the area as part of our project. We believe West Kentucky has a great deal to offer to the bourbon industry and we look forward to showcasing the quality of our Kentucky made product,” said Sarah Jones.
The company says it will create heritage bourbon through historical methods, providing a unique full-flavored taste.
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State Supports Distilling in Kentucky
“The commonwealth’s bourbon and spirits industry is a sector that continues to grow at a steady rate,” Gov. Bevin said. “This project is particularly encouraging, as it puts a once unused facility to use in a region that will greatly benefit from the resulting job creation. We look forward to seeing RH Resolute Distillery begin production in the very near future, and to seeing its positive economic impact on many West Kentucky communities.”
Sen. Stan Humphries, of Cadiz, noted the positive impact the Jones and Haney families could have on the community with the distillery’s establishment.
“The Haney and Jones families, and all those affiliated with RH Resolute Distillery, have led the growth in the Fulton County spirits industry,” Sen. Humphries said. “I support this company’s repurposing of a previously unused facility, as promising economic times are ahead in Western Kentucky.”
Hickman Mayor David Lattus spoke on the benefits provided by additional job opportunities.
“We are excited about the new opportunity RH Resolute Distillery will provide for Hickman and Fulton County,” Mayor Lattus said. “Our city is 100 percent in support of the new job and wealth creation this will bring to our citizens and entire area.”
Fulton County Judge-Executive Jim Martin said local government is ready to begin a successful relationship with RH Resolute.
“We are very excited to have the RH Resolute Distillery investment in Fulton County. This project will bring other investment opportunity for additional business ventures in our county,” Judge-Executive Martin said. “Fulton County Fiscal Court stands ready to assist the company in meeting their goals and we support and appreciate the investment in Fulton County.
To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in May preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $360,000 through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the agreement term through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.
In addition, RH Resolute 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. In fiscal year 2017, the Kentucky Skills Network provided training for more than 120,000 Kentuckians and 5,700 companies from a variety of industry sectors.