Sean and Tia Edwards are launching the first Black owned bourbon distillery in Kentucky. Their company, Fresh Bourbon Distilling Co. has announced plans to build a $5.4 million distillery in downtown Lexington.
Fresh Bourbon Distilling Co was registered in 2017 with the aim of creating a premier, Black owned Bourbon brand.
In December 2019, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved a 10-year incentive deal with Fresh Bourbon Distilling through the Kentucky Business Investment Program.
The performance-based contract can provide up to US$200,000 in tax incentives based on the firm’s investment of US$5.4m and the meeting of a number of annual targets. The targets include the creation and upkeep of 15 local full-time jobs across 10 years and paying an average hourly wage of US$18 including benefits across those jobs.
Fresh Bourbon Distilling’s products are mashed, fermented, distilled, matured and bottled entirely in Kentucky, and are currently produced under contract through Hartfield & Co Distillery in Paris, Kentucky.
The KEDFA has also approved Fresh Bourbon Distilling Co for up to US$125,000 in tax incentives through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA), which can be used to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development, and electronic processing.
The site will produce a new range of Bourbons and other whiskeys and will host tours and guided tastings.
“For nearly three years, we have been diligently developing an authentic and unique Bourbon and spirits line,” said Edwards.
“We chose not to buy Bourbon from someone else and just place our name on a bottle. We have been very intentional and deliberate in crafting our spirits – from the mash bills up – and also our Fresh Bourbon team, including in selecting our master distiller, the first African-American master distiller in Kentucky since slavery.”
The company recently completed its first round of financing, with a second round near finalization.