Brothers Wright Distilling Co. has announced it will invest nearly $38 million and create 28 quality jobs in Pike County to establish a new distillery that will use a rehabilitated underground coal mine to age the company’s products.
Company leaders plan to construct a 12,000-square-foot distillery, rickhouse, welcome center, museum and restaurant on a 20-acre tract – part of a larger 1,200-acre property along Kentucky Highway 292 in Pike County – with future plans for lodging and an underground visitor experience. The company will age its Kentucky-made bourbon in a rehabilitated coal mine, encompassing 1,400 acres underground, on the mine property from 1913 through 1946. More than 100 years after construction, the mine’s internal dry-stacked rock walls remain intact, and the site already serves as home to the first barrels of the company’s product, which was distilled in Pike County.
Jobs to be created at the operation include 28 full-time positions ranging from production and maintenance to sales and tours. Additionally, 50 construction and mine rehabilitation jobs are projected. Construction of the new facility in Eastern Kentucky is expected to begin later this year, with completion scheduled by the end of 2024.
“Our family of companies’ footprint in Pike County stretches back over 25 years. We have been blessed to live and work in the mountains of Central Appalachia over that time frame,” said Shannon Wright, co-owner and CEO of Brothers Wright Distilling Co. “Working in Kentucky’s coal mining industry has allowed us to grow and support our families as well as our employees and their families. We are excited to marry two of the great state of Kentucky’s industries, bourbon whiskey and coal mining, in a new and unique approach that we hope will bring a new economic opportunity to the mountains we call home.”
In 2020, brothers Kendall and Shannon Wright purchased a 1,200-acre farm along the banks of the Tug Fork tributary of the Big Sandy River and began work to restore the property for use as a corporate retreat location. Following the acquisition, the brothers discovered coal mine maps of the property, which uncovered the location of the mine that is now being used to age the company’s bourbon.
“From 1913 to 1946, more than 23 million tons of coal were mined out of this property,” said Kendall Wright, co-owner and COO of Brothers Wright Distilling Co. “Miners from all over the world traveled here to work, live and provide fuel to our nation during its greatest period of growth. We feel there is something special about honoring the work completed here over a century ago with a completely unique bourbon experience.”
The company’s owners also operate multiple other businesses throughout Kentucky and central and southern Appalachia, including parent company Wright Concrete & Construction, employing more than 200 people across all operations.
To encourage investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) last week preliminarily approved a 15-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $850,000 in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of nearly $37.9 million and annual targets of:
- Creation and maintenance of 28 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 15 years; and
- Paying an average hourly wage of $30.50, including benefits across those jobs.
Additionally, KEDFA approved the company for up to $150,000 in tax incentives through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA). KEIA allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing.
By meeting its annual targets over the agreement term, the company can be eligible to keep a portion of the new tax revenue it generates. The company may claim eligible incentives against its income tax liability and/or wage assessments.
In addition, the company can receive resources from Kentucky’s workforce service providers. Those include no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job-training incentives.
For more information on Brothers Wright Distilling, visit BrothersWrightDistilling.com.