CLERMONT, KY. (WDRB) -- The bourbon business in Kentucky is growing at a rate not seen since before Prohibition. Other distilled spirits are also making an economic impact in the state.
"We create the new products for Beam from around the globe," says the Vice President for Global Research and Development Mary Kay Bolles. She says Beam Distillery produces not just Jim Beam Bourbon but about 200 other beverages.
"Bourbon is our core product at Beam," says Bolles. "We've done a lot of neat things in bourbon, but we are also expanding out to what we call lifestyle beverages."
Many of them are created and fine-tuned at the company's new Global Innovation Center in Bullitt County. "We are global, so we could have located it anywhere," she says, "but our flagship is Jim Beam so what better place to be than right here on Jim Beam's Clermont campus."
Beam want to have 25% of the company's annual sales growth come from new products. "A lot of what we do here is looking forward so what will be happening next year and in 2015," says research scientist Maria Yost.
Yost is one of about a hundred people who work in the Global Innovation Center to develop new products. Says Yost, "I take our knowledge from our spirits and the I bring them over to the flavored side to make refreshing drinks like a margarita."
One of the most recent new beverages to hit store shelves is Jim Beam Honey. "It is the base of Jim Beam bourbon and rounding out that flavor for a honey flavored Jim Beam," explains Bolles.
During the past couple of years, Kentucky distillers have spent more than $230 million on new products. Adds Bolles, "We've added over 200 jobs here in Kentucky, some of that being our technical team, some in our operations and in out commercial businesses."
Beam is spending about $2 million to renovate a second story space at Fourth and Liberty on Fourth Street Live to open its Global Business Service Center.
It will mean about 60 new jobs in finance and human resources and is expected to begin operations in mid-July of this year.
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