Distiller has plans for facility at Camp Nelson; Expected to create 52 full-time jobs
Published 10:26 am Monday, June 28, 2021
Gov. Andy Beshear announced startup distiller E.J. Curley & Co. plans to establish a facility in Jessamine County with a more than $5 million investment expected to create 52 full-time jobs.
The distillery will be located at Camp Nelson at the same site as the original E.J. Curley & Co. operation, which operated in Jessamine County from the late 1860s.
“The continued growth of the bourbon industry in our state is great news for the future of Kentucky and our residents,” Gov. Beshear said. “E.J. Curley & Co. is bringing back a historic distillery to our state, and this new venture will create quality job opportunities in Jessamine County and the surrounding region. Thank you to the leaders at E.J. Curley for this commitment to the commonwealth, and I look forward to watching the company grow well into the future.”
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E.J. Curley’s investment includes the construction of a 22,500-square-foot facility at 7777 Old Danville Road at the Kentucky River Palisades at Camp Nelson, the home of the original E.J. Curley & Co. Distillery. The new distillery will offer two Kentucky mash bills that will reflect traditional bourbon whiskey, with plans to launch a first-of-its-kind Kentucky-blended international spirit in the near future.
An E.J. Curley & Co. Revival Tour is planned for later this year, a soft launch where visitors can buy spirits and mixed drinks, visit historic nature trails and enjoy other experiences. Spirits production is slated to begin by May 2022, along with the opening of a tasting room. Company leaders expect to welcome more than 100,000 visitors annually.
“Phase 1 jobs will include distilling operations, management personnel, sales and other key positions,” said Rick Baker, CEO of E.J. Curley. “Within 18-24 months, Phase 2 will be supported by $10 million in new capital investment to increase production capacity to 15,000 to 18,000 barrels per year with significant rickhouse storage, also in Jessamine County.”
E.J. Curley President Matthew Parker expressed eagerness to revive a historic brand in Jessamine County.
“We are delighted to be the lone distillery in Jessamine County,” Parker said. “The history of Camp Nelson and Boone’s Knoll is a shining star for the commonwealth, and it thrills us to revive production of America’s spirit at the original location of E.J. Curley & Co. We are thankful for the steadfast support of our economic development partner, Craig McAnelly, Jessamine County Judge/Executive David West and our Kentucky project manager Annie Franklin.”
The Camp Nelson-based company is reviving the E.J. Curley name, which dates back to the Civil War-era and was known as Kentucky River Distillery at the Kentucky Palisades following prohibition until the 1960s.
The commonwealth is home to 66 spirits operations employing more than 5,100 people full-time statewide. In 2020, the industry announced 20 projects in Kentucky, totaling more than $300 million in new investment and nearly 230 projected jobs.
E.J. Curley’s investment and planned job creation furthers recent economic momentum in the commonwealth, as the state builds back stronger following the effects of the pandemic.
Last week, Gov. Beshear announced Kentucky’s year-to-date private-sector new-location and expansion figures, which include over $2 billion in total planned investment and the creation of 4,000-plus full-time jobs across the coming years. Through May, Kentucky’s average incentivized hourly wage is $23.15 before benefits, a 4.7% increase over the previous year.
Last month, Moody’s Analytics published a positive economic outlook for Kentucky, noting mass vaccination as the driving force behind a sustained recovery in consumer services. The state’s recovery, Moody’s said, benefited from earlier reopening efforts and increased demand for manufactured goods over services. The report also found Kentucky’s manufacturing industry outperformed the nation’s since the national downturn last year.
Fitch Ratings last month improved the state’s financial outlook to stable, reflecting the commonwealth’s solid economic recovery. The state’s April sales tax receipts set an all-time monthly record at $486.5 million, as did vehicle usage tax receipts at over $64 million.
In March, Site Selection magazine’s annual Governor’s Cup rankings for 2020 positioned Kentucky atop the South Central region, and third nationally, for qualifying projects per capita. The commonwealth also placed seventh overall in total projects, the highest of any state with a population under 5 million. Site Selection also recently placed Kentucky in a tie for fifth in its 2021 Prosperity Cup rankings, positioning the state among the national leaders for business climate.
Judge/Executive West welcomed the distillery’s job creation in the region.
“We are excited to bring E.J. Curley Distillery back to Jessamine County. The 52 new jobs and progressive investments planned by this company for Jessamine County will make a tremendous impact on our community,” Judge/Executive West said. “E.J. Curley Distillery has deep roots in Jessamine County that go back to its beginnings after the Civil War. Many of our residents’ families are historically tied to this company, so we’re delighted help E.J. Curley become the next member of Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail!”
McAnelly, executive director of the Jessamine County Joint Economic Development Authority, said this project has long been in the works and took a collaborative effort to make a reality.
“Several years in the making, this project has seen several potential investors,” McAnelly said. “Knowing the rich history and story to be told, we’re certain this site will someday become a destination location for Kentucky. Jobs produced by this distillery won’t just come from manufacturing but will also be generated by tourism. We want to thank the Cabinet for Economic Development for their assistance throughout this project.”
To encourage investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) on 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 $350,000 in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of over $5 million and annual targets of:
- Creation and maintenance of 52 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 10 years; and
- Paying an average hourly wage of $37 including benefits across those jobs.
Additionally, KEDFA approved E.J. Curley for up to $50,000 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, the company 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.