Thu. Jul 25th, 2024


FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 2, 2024) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear joined local officials and company leadership at Eastern Light Distilling for the groundbreaking of its new $143.7 million Morehead distillery, a project that is creating 50 new full-time positions.

“Eastern Light Distilling is adding to the historic growth we’re seeing all across Kentucky’s signature bourbon industry,” said Gov. Beshear. “Today’s official groundbreaking ceremony marks another significant step forward for our spirits industry as it continues to provide incredible job opportunities for the Eastern Kentucky region. Congratulations to Eastern Light Distilling’s leadership on reaching this exciting milestone.”

Announced in June 2023, the new facility will introduce an innovative new concept that will grow the state’s signature bourbon industry in Eastern Kentucky while supporting craft bourbon makers as a custom contract distiller. The locally owned venture is led by Kentucky bourbon industry veterans, including CEO Cordell Lawrence and Caleb Kilburn, an internationally recognized master distiller.

The project also represents a major success for the Kentucky Product Development Initiative, a program designed to increase investment in sites and buildings statewide, as the Rowan County site was approved for nearly $600,000 in state support earlier in 2023. 

“We are thrilled to celebrate this important moment as we bring Eastern Light Distilling to life,” said Caleb Kilburn, Eastern Light Distilling founding partner and master distiller. “Being from Eastern Kentucky, I’m grateful for the opportunity to grow the industry that I’m so passionate about in the region that I call home.”

“Eastern Light will fill a tremendous need in the bourbon industry, operating with a fully customizable solutions-based model that will help craft distillers and bourbon brands to not only reach their goals and bring their products to market, but to flourish,” said Cordell Lawrence, founding partner and CEO of Eastern Light Distilling. “We believe in removing barriers to entry in the spirits space so that we can share our passion with likeminded creators while prioritizing quality, inspiring creativity and investing in the state’s signature bourbon industry and the health of the region.”

Eastern Light sits on a 230-acre campus in Morehead, Kentucky, that will soon be home to a 50,000-square-foot full-service distillery, nine rickhouses with an average capacity of 33,000 barrels each, a full bottling facility and a unique bourbon tourism experience. Employing more than 50 full-time staff, the distillery will deliver an unmatched bourbon contribution to Eastern Kentucky, producing upwards of 97,000 barrels per year.  

President of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association Eric Gregory congratulated the co-founders: “Very few people get to live out their lifelong dreams, so it’s with great pride that we salute Caleb and Cordell on their bold new venture with Eastern Light Distilling. Their industry experience and knowledge will allow more innovative distillers from around the world to use Kentucky Bourbon in their craft. It’s even more exciting to think of all the opportunities this distillery will bring into Eastern Kentucky. Today’s groundbreaking is a win for Bourbon entrepreneurs, Bourbon connoisseurs and Bourbon communities.”

Senior Vice President of Communications and Marketing at the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Jacqueline Pitts mentioned the impact of the project: “The Kentucky Chamber is proud to support the bourbon industry and the incredible economic impact it has on our state. Eastern Light Distilling is an exciting example of continued growth and investments from one of our signature industries.”