Beam Suntory to inject US$400M into Booker Noe Distillery expansion project

US – Beam Suntory, a Japanese multinational alcohol company, has plans of investing more than US$400 million through its subsidiary, Jim Beam, into an expansion project at the Booker Noe Distillery in Kentucky.

The company said the investment will involve the expansion of the production capacity at the distillery to surpass the current capacity of tens of millions of bourbons annually.

The Bourbon whiskey brands include Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Old Grand-Dad, Old Crow, Baker’s, Basil Hayden’s, Booker’s, and Knob Creek.

Jim beam also produces Rye whiskey brands which include Jim Beam Rye, Knob Creek Rye, and Old Overholt, while its blended American whiskey is Kessler, Beam’s Eight Star.

Managing director of the James B Beam Distilling Co., Carlo Coppola said: “We are excited about this expansion opportunity at our Booker Noe site, building on our recent investment in the new consumer experience in Clermont.

And now expanding production to ensure enough of our premium liquid is available wherever consumers are looking for them.”

The Fred B Noe Distillery was opened in Kentucky in September last year and was part of Beam Suntory’s US$60million investment to bring back the James B Beam Distilling Co in Clermont.

To aid the expansion project, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) has preliminarily approved a 15-year agreement with Beam Suntory under the Kentucky Business Investment program.

The performance-based agreement can offer up to US$ 3 million in tax incentives based on a company’s investment of up to US$436.4million and annual targets of 51 jobs for Kentucky residents, as well as an average hourly wage of US$51.

Additionally, the KEDFA has approved Beam Suntory for up to US$550,000 in tax incentives through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA).

KEIA allows firms to recuperate Kentucky sales and use tax incentives on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment, and electronic processing.

In May, the James B Beam Distilling Co appointed Freddie Noe as the eighth-generation master distiller of the Fred B Noe Distillery.

Freddie Noe, in his new master distiller role, will experiment with new fermentation, distillation, and blending techniques to create ‘category-defining and boundary-pushing whiskeys.

He will also host experiential distillation sessions and seminars with hands-on activities in the blending lab.

The expansion is rumored to be an eye for a greater share of the whisk(e)y exports to the UK that is bouncing back.

Earlier this month, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) celebrated an end to transatlantic tariffs on products such as whiskey, gin, and cognac.

The tariff dispute which has blighted trade between the three trading partners for nearly four years involved the US, Scotch, and Irish whisk(e)y industries and resulted in American whiskey exports to the UK declining by 42%.

As trade with the UK, the fourth largest market in the world for American whiskey, normalizes, it is hoped that the export value will rebound from the 2021 figure of US$88 million back to the 2018 level of US$150 million.

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