The Sazerac Company, one of the largest American family-owned distilling companies in the United States, has announced its intention to purchase a manufacturing facility in New Albany, Ind., where it will expand its processing, blending, packaging and distribution capabilities. The facility, located at 707 Pillsbury Lane, is the former General Mills Pillsbury Plant, which closed in 2016. The building has been vacant since its closing.
“We’re excited about the possibility of expanding our operations into Southern Indiana. Our contacts at the State of Indiana, the City of New Albany and the local economic development organization, One Southern Indiana, have been great partners to work with throughout this process. If all goes well, we look forward to getting our construction underway at the new facility, then on to staffing and running our new plant,” said Jeff Conder, Vice President of Manufacturing for Sazerac Co.
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) has offered Sazerac up to $900,000 in conditional Economic Development for a Growing Economy (“EDGE”) tax credits and up to $150,000 in training grants from the Skills Enhancement Fund based on the company’s job-creation plans. These incentives are performance-based, meaning until Indiana workers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives.
“Indiana’s business-friendly environment and skilled workforce offer companies like Sazerac the perfect recipe for continued success,” said Elaine Bedel, president of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC). “We’re excited to welcome Sazerac to the Hoosier state as it establishes its first facility here, increasing its manufacturing footprint and creating good jobs in southeast Indiana.”
The New Albany City Council is scheduled to vote on final approval of the company’s local incentives next week, with the $66 million project contingent upon the council’s approval. Should incentives be granted, Sazerac anticipates starting operations as early as November of this year with a staff of approximately 50 new employees. By the close of 2021, Sazerac estimates the 460,000-square-foot former food plant could be at full capacity and fully staffed with 110 workers in total. The company intends to start with two production lines upon opening.
“When General Mills announced it would close its doors a couple years ago, we worked hard to help the employees most affected by the news. With Sazerac on the verge of coming to New Albany, I can’t help but marvel at how far we’ve come,” said New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan. “I would like to welcome the Sazerac team to New Albany with a pledge to support their efforts to put down roots here and prosper along with us. Sazerac has a rich and storied past, and I am certain this quality company will be embraced by our community. We are excited, and we expect that this will be the beginning of a long and prosperous friendship between Sazerac and the City of New Albany.”
Sazerac has grown significantly over the past several years and has invested heavily in its manufacturing network, including large investments in its three plants in Kentucky. Its Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort is undergoing a $1.2 billion investment over the next ten years, including new mash cookers, bottling lines and barrel warehouses. The company’s Barton 1792 Distillery in Bardstown completed a $15 million distillery and grain drying upgrade in 2017, and The Glenmore Distillery in Owensboro completed a $45 million addition in 2016 with a new state-of-the-art distribution center.
“We’re so pleased we’ve been able to invest in our facilities as we have grown our brands. Extending our manufacturing footprint into Indiana will support future growth,” added Conder. “The business-friendly environment and the proximity of this facility to our three Kentucky plants make it an ideal location.”
Wendy Dant Chesser, president and CEO of One Southern Indiana said, “1si is always excited when a company of Sazerac’s prestige and success considers expanding in Southern Indiana. This will be a double shot of good news – it not only benefits our region by creating over 100 new jobs, but also because the company is willing to make a significant investment in an existing building that has sat unoccupied for nearly two years.” Chesser continued, “We wish Sazerac all the best and stand ready to assist them in the future.”
Pending local incentive approval, the purchase is expected to be completed June 11th. The purchase price is not being disclosed.