New distillery approved in Shelby County
SHELBY COUNTY, KY (WAVE) – Tucked away less than four miles from downtown Shelbyville is a plot of land that will soon be home to Kentucky's latest distiller.
Tuesday the Shelby County Planning Commission voted unanimously in favor of the project to build the Diageo distillery.
"It's a huge boom for our community to have that many jobs," Zoning Commissioner Quintin Biagi said.
Diageo will bring a $115 million investment, 30 permanent positions and several construction jobs to the area, but while officials didn't ask many questions concerning bringing the distillery to town, residents did raise concerns.
"It's very picturesque, lots of varieties of trees, lots of wildlife," said resident Linda Casey Stevenson. Stevenson has lived by a lake near the proposed site for 30 years. "We have a number of fears about what the odors, and what the air pollutants can do," she explained.
The list went on.
"It's a black fungus that get's on your house on your car," another resident told the commission during the meeting.
"My concerns are for noise, odors and property values," another man said.
Diageo representatives promised residents they would be good neighbors as one of the largest adult beverage companies in the world with brands like Johnny Walker, Smirnoff and Captain Morgan.
"Our experts in how to make whiskey and where to make whiskey think that this is an ideal location," Diageo Executive Vice President, Guy Smith said.
A date for when construction will begin has not been announced, but officials said it will be soon.
Meanwhile, there has been a lot of talk about the distillery joining the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, but in order for that to happen county laws would have to be challenged.
Right now the city of Shelbyville is considered wet, meaning retail alcohol sales are permitted. However, outside the city limits the country is dry. There are exemptions for restaurants and bars outside the city. So, the distillery would need to ask for an exemption.
Smith said as for now the company is focused on making the spirits, not selling them.
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