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$4.8 Million Bourbon-Related Tourism Development Project Coming to Fayette County

December 20, 2023

$4.8 million investment to create 11 full-time jobs for Kentuckians

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Dec. 20, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear highlighted continued growth in Kentucky’s bourbon and spirits industry as RD1 Spirits plans to locate a bourbon-related project in Fayette County with a $4.8 million facility, creating 11 full-time positions when fully operational.

RD1 Spirits is developing a destination to honor the past and future of Lexington’s connection to the bourbon industry. The project will have tours, personalized blending experiences, tasting rooms, a cocktail bar, a gift shop and an event space. The company’s unique offerings will make it a must-visit for bourbon enthusiasts and tourists alike.

“This exciting new investment will provide a great bourbon experience for visitors to the Fayette County area. As we continue to see growth in Kentucky’s signature bourbon industry, projects like this are also adding momentum to our tourism efforts,” said Gov. Beshear. “I want to congratulate RD1 Spirits’ leadership and look forward to the positive impact the project will have on the tourism industry and the local community.”

The complex will be located within the Commons, a 40-acre mixed-use development, hoping to attract visitors traveling along Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail. RD1 Spirits aims to be a world-class bourbon destination in the heart of Lexington. The project is expected to be completed by 2025. 

“Expanding RD1’s brand destination in our hometown of Lexington is a testament to the vision and determination of our team, and consumers’ warm reception of our award-winning bourbon portfolio,” said Mike Tetterton, chief executive officer of RD1 Spirits. “RD1’s distillery at The Commons will further anchor us as a sought-after experience on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® while fueling national awareness of our brand. We appreciate the state’s support of our entrepreneurial efforts to help grow Fayette County and the Kentucky bourbon industry.”

Upon recommendation by the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, RD1 Spirits received approval on Dec. 20 from the Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority for incentives totaling $521,000 for the project. Through the Tourism Development Act, qualifying tourism development projects can recover up to 25% of approved development costs through the recovery of sales tax generated by the development.

“Bourbon tourism is a major draw for visitors to Kentucky, and this project will be a tremendous addition to the distillery community,” said Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet Secretary Lindy Casebier.  Kentuckians love their bourbon and will undoubtedly flock to this newest attraction in Lexington.”

“We’re delighted with RD1’s plans to establish a world-class bourbon destination on the Bourbon Trail in Lexington,” Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton said. “Lexington has a deep connection to the bourbon industry that dates back to the 19th Century. In recent years, that connection has been reborn in our city through the restoration of the Distillery District, a project I championed, and the establishment of several new distilleries. The Bourbon Trail brings thousands of visitors to our city. This new facility will be an additional attraction.”

Commerce Lexington Inc. President and CEO Bob Quick said, “We are excited that RD1 Spirits LLC is investing in Fayette County and creating jobs right here in Greater Lexington. Tourism has a significant impact on our region and state, and this project will add yet another top-notch experience to attract visitors to the area, while enhancing the popular Kentucky Bourbon Trail and our signature bourbon industry.”

RD1 Spirits’ tourism investment builds on recent economic momentum in the commonwealth, including within the tourism and bourbon industries.

Gov. Andy Beshear recently announced that the state broke an all-time record in 2023 with nine new tourism development projects that are set to generate an estimated $301.2 million in economic investment. These projects are also expected to create 628 jobs once operational.

In August, Gov. Beshear declared that 2022 was the best year on record for Kentucky tourism, with $12.9 billion generated in economic impact and 91,668 jobs. According to Tourism Economics, 75.9 million travelers visited Kentucky in 2022, spending a total of $8.9 billion across the commonwealth. This generated over $937 million in state and local taxes, resulting in a $536 tax savings for each Kentucky household. Total visitation reached 103% of 2019 volumes, and visitor spending reached 112%. The 2022 figures surpassed the previous record of $11.8 billion in economic impact in 2019.

The state’s bourbon and spirits industry also recorded its best year for growth in 2022, with over $2.1 billion in new investments and approximately 700 new jobs for Kentucky residents. Since the start of his administration, Gov. Beshear has announced 96 new-location and expansion projects within the bourbon and spirits sector, contributing to over $3.6 billion in new investments and more than 1,650 full-time jobs for Kentuckians.

Last July, Gov. Beshear announced $75 million in ARPA funding to boost the state’s tourism industry and economy. Previously, the Governor dedicated $5.3 million in federal funding to 103 tourism and destination marketing organizations in 88 Kentucky counties. 

Since the beginning of his administration, Gov. Beshear has announced more than 940 private-sector new-location and expansion projects totaling over $28.5 billion in announced investments, creating 50,505 jobs. This is the highest investment figure for any governor in state history. 

A detailed community profile for Fayette County can be viewed here. Information about Lexington tourism is available at visitlex.com.

For more information and to view the full economic impact report, please visit Tourism Development Incentive Program

For the latest Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet updates, follow the cabinet on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.

To learn more about tourism and arts in Kentucky, visit tah.ky.gov.

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Media Contact:

Crystal Staley

502-545-3714

[email protected]

Anita Hatchett

502-330-5765

[email protected]

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