Buffalo Trace welcomed “with open arms” | News


One of the world’s largest bourbon distillers has filed a plan to expand its reach in Lawrenceburg, according to documents obtained through an open records request from the county’s planning and zoning office.

Buffalo Trace Distillery, located in Frankfort, filed plans to build 24 barrels on Highway 151, about 2 miles from the Franklin County line. When complete, the expansion would generate millions of dollars a year in whiskey and property taxes that would benefit each of the county’s tax districts.

“I’m thrilled,” said Executive Judge Orbrey Gritton, who on Friday afternoon commended the work done by the City and County Joint Economic Development Board and Mayor Troy Young in luring Buffalo Trace to the county. ‘Anderson.

“I can’t tell you how happy that makes me,” Gritton said. “These types of huge deals don’t happen very often, and it just goes to show how well our economic development council is doing and how well city and county government are working together to get things done.”

Mayor Troy Young, who along with Gritton remodeled the old economic development council with a mix of local developers, energy, real estate and other experts, echoed Gritton’s comments.

“It’s the kind of stuff we’ve been striving for over the last few years, and it’s not the last we’re going to see,” Young said. “A big shout out to the Economic Development Council and everyone who worked on it. They know how to attract business.

Young said that although the project is outside the city limits, it will still prove to be a benefit for everyone.

“I’m excited for what this will bring to all of our small businesses,” he said.

“Our motto is what’s good for the county is good for the city, and what’s good for the city is good for the county,” Gritton added.

The project, if approved, will be located on approximately 450 acres of land owned by Kerry and Lou Smith on Graefenburg Road. The Smiths requested that the area of ​​the property be changed from an agricultural zone to a light industrial zone. A request for change is to be considered by the Anderson County Planning and Zoning Board when it meets at 7 p.m. May 10 at the City Council Annex on Woodford Street. The meeting is open to the public.

The project will also require a conditional use permit, which can be obtained simultaneously with the zoning change.

Buffalo Trace barrels typically hold around 60,000 barrels each, meaning that once all 24 are built, the company will store around 1.4 million barrels onsite. Each barrel produces about $4 a year in whiskey tax, which would equate to about $5.7 million a year. That money is split among the county’s various tax districts, with about 65 percent going to the school district, which currently earns about $1.2 million a year from the bourbon stocked by Wild Turkey.

Lucas Witt, executive director of the Economic Development Council and co-founder and partner of MWM Consulting of Lexington, said Buffalo Trace’s decision to expand into Anderson County shows how well-positioned it is for the growth and a sign of things to come.

“I think it will show Anderson County is open for business,” Witt said. “When a business of this size and nature decides to bring a project like this to your community, it sends a message not only to other businesses, but also to consulting firms in the area who advise individual businesses. on new implementation projects.”

Witt said the entire council played a role in persuading Buffalo Trace, as did other county officials.

“This project has been pursued and worked diligently for months,” he said. “It was a real collective effort. Although the property is in the county, not the city, it was an all over the bridge approach. Judge Gritton and Mayor Young have worked together in a wonderful way to show the Sazerac Society our willingness to help in any way we can.

“Additionally, the EDA Board of Directors has been heavily involved in recruiting the company in Anderson County. While my company MWM Consulting was responsible for bringing the right contacts and information to the table, individual members of the EDA Board of Directors spared their volunteer time to help bring it all together.

Finally, Judge Gritton and Mayor Young deployed their individual teams to help with the project. City and county attorneys, the director of planning and zoning, and the city engineer all played their part in bringing the project to where it is today.

Witt also credited the Smiths.

“The salespeople have been great to work with,” he said. “I sincerely believe they wouldn’t sell this property if it wasn’t a project that would greatly benefit the community from an economic development standpoint.”

Witt said that while barrel homes are the goal, more could be done with the property.

“Potential future expansions to this site are not off the table and could be considered,” he said.

Brad Smith, board member and local developer, was also recognized for his work recruiting Buffalo Trace. He said it was something he had been pursuing for months.

“About 10 months ago, a longtime business partner and good friend of mine, Jess Thompson, asked me confidentially if I knew of any large parcels of land that could be made available in Anderson County for a bourbon storage operation,” Smith said.

“After 34 years of being a businessman in Anderson County, with a particular focus on commercial and industrial real estate transactions, I immediately recognized that this was a very rare opportunity and I wanted to do everything I could to make sure Anderson County landed this deal and the jobs, tax revenue, industry relationships and future expansion growth that could come with it.

Smith, there were several reasons why Buffalo Trace chose Anderson County.

First, our community’s long history in the bourbon business made us an obvious consideration,” he said. “Second, our local leaders, both city and county, as well as members of the ACF Board of Directors all went out of their way to make sure Buffalo Trace knew the county of Anderson wanted them in our community, supported them and welcomed them with open arms, which is huge and may be the main reason we landed this deal. “Third, our location on I-64 and proximity to Buffalo Trace’s main operation in Frankfort has certainly been a big plus for their expansion.

“I know firsthand that it was a very competitive situation. We were competing for this opportunity against other counties and these three factors were crucial in helping us close the deal.

Highway 151 has long been the source of concern for those who live along the narrow freeway, which connects US 127 in Lawrenceburg to I-64. Just days after the potential expansion was announced, State Representative James Tipton announced that the state would spend nearly $6.75 million to improve the freeway. (See related story).


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