LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Global liquor giant Diageo PLC on Thursday announced plans to build a new distillery in Kentucky amid a global boom in American whiskey sales.
The U.K.-based company called the $115 million project about 30 miles east of Louisville a significant investment in the state's growing bourbon industry. It still needs approval from local government officials, but Diageo hopes to complete the project by the end of 2016.
A variety of current and future Diageo bourbon and whiskey brands would be distilled at the facility, with a production capacity of 750,000 9-liter cases per year.
"Diageo has a long tradition within the craft of whiskey-making, and we look forward to bringing this artisanship to the new distillery," said Diageo North America President Larry Schwartz.
Diageo's brands include Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, Guinness, Bulleit Bourbon and George Dickel Tennessee Whisky. Global rival Brown-Forman Corp., maker of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey, is headquartered in Louisville.
In the U.S., sales volume for bourbon and Tennessee whiskeys has grown 26 percent over the past decade, according to the Distilled Spirits Council, an industry group. Exports of U.S. whiskeys have grown to roughly $1 billion last year, more than double what it was a decade ago.
State and local officials expressed enthusiasm about the project, which is expected to create about 30 jobs for whiskey distillation and maturation.
"Distilled spirits remain a marquee industry in the commonwealth, and Diageo's new distillery will ensure that even more Kentucky bourbon is enjoyed around the globe," said Gov. Steve Beshear.
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