Last Wednesday saw Gov. Matt Bevin and Stoli Group begin the construction of “Kentucky Owl Park,” a state-of-the-art distillery and unprecedented visitor center experience at Cedar Creek Quarry in Bardstown.
The 420-acre site, which will also include rickhouses for aging product and a bottling center will house operations for the newly created American Whiskey Division of Stoli Group. In the long-term, Kentucky Owl Park, named for the Bourbon that joined Stoli Group’s portfolio earlier this year and served as the inspiration for this groundbreaking, will go above and beyond other Bourbon Trail destinations to feature a freshwater lake, a gourmet restaurant, a remarkable convention center, a vintage passenger train, and a refurbished train station. Currently, work is scheduled to start in early 2018 with a goal of completing the distillery phase and begin production of Whiskies in 2020, bringing as many as 57 jobs to the area.
“Global demand for Bourbon continues to bring significant economic impact to Kentucky through jobs, investment, and tourism,” said Gov. Bevin. “This new project by Stoli Group in the heart of Bourbon country will serve to accelerate this trend. Stoli Group will offer numerous employment opportunities and support many families in and around Nelson County. I congratulate the company and look forward to seeing this concept come to life over the coming years.”
Stoli Group was established in 2013 and is responsible for the management, distribution and marketing operations of SPI Group’s global spirits portfolio. One of the world’s leading wine and spirits organizations, SPI Group is an independent company committed to a mission of building a respected portfolio of select premium brands, which it achieves by controlling and perfecting every stage of the process, from cultivation through distribution. Additionally, SPI Group develops large-scale real estate projects, including the Finos Tequila distillery in Jalisco, Mexico and the award-winning Bayou Rum distillery and visitors center in Lacassine, Louisiana, and farms 14,000 acres of agricultural land, including for its Stoli and elite Vodkas in Tambov, Russia.
“Stoli Group will put great resources into these endeavors – both the distillery experience and the growth of this very important category for our company. As master blender, Dixon Dedman will continue to manage the production of Kentucky Owl – the crown jewel of the new division, which will remain a small batch offering,” said Dmitry Efimov, Head of Stoli Group’s American Whiskey Division. “This site will be home to additional brands that we will create or acquire. With the continued strength and growth of American Whiskies and Bourbons, we are beginning to evaluate those opportunities.”
Sen. Jimmy Higdon, of Lebanon, said Stoli Group promises to grow the state’s strong reputation in the Bourbon industry.
“I am so pleased to hear Stoli Group has chosen this Bardstown location to be Kentucky’s newest Bourbon-based economic development project,” Sen. Higdon said. “Kentucky’s signature Bourbon industry has shown no sign of slowing, and with this huge investment in the region and the creation of new Kentucky jobs, I have no doubt that Stoli Group will join the ranks of great distillers.”
Rep. Chad McCoy, of Bardstown, said the project will have a substantial impact on the already thriving local Bourbon industry.
“Stoli Group understands the rich tradition of Bourbon in the commonwealth, and we are thrilled the company is expanding a recently acquired family business to Bardstown,” said Rep. Chad McCoy, who serves as vice-chair of the Licensing, Occupations, and Administrative Regulations Committee. “The distillery is a boon for our community and will cement Bardstown’s transformation into the premiere Bourbon destination for Kentuckians and people from all over the world.”
Bardstown Mayor Dick Heaton said the company has found the perfect home in Nelson County.
“We are extremely happy to have Stoli Group’s American Whiskey Distillery join our growing family of distilleries in Bardstown and Nelson County,” Mayor Heaton said. “Bardstown is known as the Bourbon Capital of the World. This new investment is a testament that there is no better place to make Bourbon, educate and entertain visitors than Bardstown, Kentucky. The announcement comes as a result of much hard work by many people in the public and private sector here. The City of Bardstown is proud to be a part of this exciting project.”
Nelson County Judge-Executive Dean Watts said the project will have a positive impact on the community.
“The announcement of Stoli Group’s American Whiskey Distillery coming to Nelson County is excellent economic news,” Judge-Executive Watts said. “We appreciate their investment in our community and look forward to helping with their success.”
Part of SPI Group – one of the world’s leading premium spirits businesses – Stoli Group was established in 2013 as the division responsible for the management, distribution, and marketing of SPI’s global spirits portfolio.