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Jefferson’s Bourbon Getting Its Own Fancy New Distillery

Jefferson’s Bourbon is set to get its own new state of the art Kentucky distillery through a $250 million investment announced today by Pernod Ricard.

The new Jefferson’s Bourbon distillery, according to those behind it, will see the brand’s parent company, Pernod Ricard, invest approximately $250 million over five years to build a state-of-the-art, carbon neutral whiskey making facility, with related aging warehouses, in Marion County, Kentucky. 

This will include a “world class” visitor center facility that will welcome whiskey tourists on the historic South Trail of Kentucky Bourbon.

Jefferson's Distillery
Jefferson’s Bourbon is set to get its own new state of the art Kentucky distillery through a $250 million investment announced today by Pernod Ricard. (image via Pernod Ricard)

Founded in 1997 by Trey Zoeller and his father Chet, Jefferson’s joined the Pernod Ricard portfolio in 2019 when the company acquired the brand’s parent, Castle Brands. Trey Zoeller continues to guide Jefferson’s to this day, and since the acquisition, Jefferson’s U.S. sales have doubled.

“For the last 25 years we have been sourcing, contract distilling and — through Kentucky Artisan Distillery — distilling ourselves,” Zoeller said in a prepared statement. “It is now time for us to take more control of our destiny. The carbon neutral, state-of-the-art distillery we are building would not be possible without Pernod Ricard’s forward thinking, integrity, and commitment to Jefferson’s and the Bourbon category’s future.”

“American whiskey is an extremely vibrant spirits category, and our strategic investments over the last few years have proven successful,” added Alexandre Ricard, Chairman and CEO, Pernod Ricard. “Our philosophy of partnering with entrepreneurial brand founders, while preserving the heritage and terroir associated with the brands they created, has made us an established player in premium American Whiskey. Jefferson’s founder Trey Zoeller is no exception.

“This new investment will allow us to grow our share of category sales not only in the U.S., but also in export markets.”

With regards to aiming for this being a carbon neutral distillery, it is said the facility and warehouses will include such low carbon technologies as:

  • Electrode boilers powered by certified renewable electricity, enabling the distillery to not use fossil fuels during bourbon production.
  • On site electric trucks and facility vehicles also powered by renewable electricity.
  • Extensive use of solar and natural lighting throughout the property and facility.

Additionally, the new distillery is “expected to be the first distillery of its size in the U.S. to achieve LEED certification, an internationally recognized sustainability framework for healthy, efficient, carbon and cost-saving environmentally friendly buildings.”

Construction of the new distillery – which will have a 7.5 million proof gallon capacity — is expected to begin in January 2023.  The target completion date for the distillery and related warehouses is 2025.

Jefferson’s is one part of Pernod Ricard’s American whiskey operations, known as the “American Whiskey Collective.” Alongside this, the spirits giant in recent years has also become involved in the following.

  • In 2022, the company’s Ft. Smith, Arkansas manufacturing plant has invested in new canning and bottling lines.
  • In August 2019, Pernod Ricard acquired the TX Whiskey brand, based in Fort Worth, Texas. TX is known for its bourbon made from a proprietary yeast derived from the pecan tree, the official state tree of Texas.
  • In July 2019, Pernod Ricard acquired a majority stake in Rabbit Hole Distillery, known for its super-premium bourbon and iconic distillery in Louisville, Kentucky.
  • In 2016, the company bought a majority stake in Smooth Ambler, the award-winning West Virginia whiskey distiller. Pernod Ricard assumed full ownership of the brand late last year.

It is unclear at this point what will happen at Kentucky Artisan once Jefferson’s sets up shop at its new distillery. Pernod had no comment on this, only stating they are “in partnership with them and cannot disclose matters unrelated to its own brands.”

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