Shelby County distillery won't be on Bourbon Trail - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Planned distillery won't be on Bourbon Trail unless voters pass referendum

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British liquor giant Diageo plans to build the new distillery on 300 acres along Benson Pike near Bagdad. British liquor giant Diageo plans to build the new distillery on 300 acres along Benson Pike near Bagdad.
Attorney Hart Megibben Attorney Hart Megibben

SHELBYVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A new bourbon distillery is one step closer to becoming a reality after the Shelby County Planning and Zoning Commission passed a development plan for the $115 million project.

British liquor giant Diageo plans to build the new distillery on 300 acres along Benson Pike near Bagdad.

However, the distillery will not be part of the Kentucky Bourbon trail since visitors won't be allowed to sip the product on the property.

"They can still make the bourbon, but they can't serve it at this point unless the county changes to a 'wet' county," Shelby County Attorney Hart Megibben said.

Megibben said it would take a voter referendum to change the county's alcohol laws to include Diageo on Kentucky's Bourbon Trail.

Shelbyville is exempt and there are exceptions for golf courses and restaurants outside city limits, but there isn't a loophole for a distillery.

"The process starts by a petition circulating with a certain number of signatures to put on the ballot. It then becomes a ballot question," Megibben said.

A petition for registered voter signatures is already circulating to include a referendum. It's too soon to know if that vote will be on this November's ballot.

Diageo also plans to build a six barrel-storage warehouses on the site, which would have a 100-acre buffer to maintain the surrounding landscape.

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