$23M bourbon distillery, event center planned for Augusta

Kentucky’s growing bourbon industry is about to expand into the historic river town of Augusta.

Augusta Distillery LLC says it plans to invest $23 million into a new distillery operation in that Bracken County town. The business will create 14 jobs, the company says.

It will be Augusta Distillery’s first full-scale operation in the commonwealth, and will be located in a repurposed 40,000-square-foot historic building that was formerly home to the F.A. Neider Co. Company leaders say construction will begin this summer, and the facility should be operational by summer 2024.

Company co-founder Judd Weis says he plans to “create an extraordinary distillery, guest experience and event center.”

“This investment will create a spike in local tourism and additional economic opportunity for our neighbors in Augusta and Bracken County,” he says.

The bourbon and spirits industry remains one of Kentucky’s most prominent sectors. Roughly 60 spirits facilities employ more than 5,300 people, says Gov. Andy Beshear’s office.

Since the start of 2020, the spirits industry has seen more than 40 new-location or expansion announcements, with more than $698 million in planned investments and approximately 600 announced full-time jobs, the office says.

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority approved Augusta Distillery for up to $200,000 in tax incentives. The program allows companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing. By meeting annual job and investment targets over the agreement term, the company can be eligible to keep a portion of the new tax revenue it generates.

In addition, Augusta Distillery can receive resources from Kentucky’s workforce service providers, including no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training, and job-training incentives.

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David Holthaus is the managing editor of NKY Thrives, an award-winning journalist, and a Cincinnati native. When not writing or editing, he's likely to be bicycling, hiking, reading or watching classic movies.