Diageo is signaling a full-speed-ahead plunge into the bourbon and American whiskey market with the creation of a $130 million distillery in Kentucky.
The Associated Press is reporting the facility will be built at a 144-acre site in Lebanon, a town that is about 65 miles southeast of Louisville. The facility, which will be Diageo’s third in Kentucky, is scheduled for a 2021 opening and will produce up to 10 million proof gallons per year – or 3.8 million 9-liter cases of Diageo’s Bulleit bourbon brand and any future bourbon and American whiskey brands that the company might introduce.
American whiskeys represent a relatively small percentage of Diageo’s liquor output and European tariffs on the product may create problems in overseas sales. But the company said that the product line is expanding in popularity, adding that the Bulleit brand recorded double-digit U.S. growth last year.
“Bourbon and American whiskey are vibrant and growing categories and we are excited to expand Diageo’s footprint in Kentucky to support our ambitions in this space,” said Barry Becton, senior director of federal affairs and whiskey at the Norwalk-headquartered Diageo North America.