Shelby County Commissioners approve development plan for new dis - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Shelby County Commissioners approve development plan for new distillery

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SHELBY COUNTY, Ky. (WDRB) -- Diageo, one of the biggest spirits companies in the world, received a green light from county commissioners to go ahead with its plans to build a whiskey distillery, with six warehouses for barrel aging, in Shelby County.

Company officials feel Shelby County is an ideal location for the distillery, even though it's a dry county.

"We're very happy and very excited to be a new member of the Shelby County community and we're looking forward to proceeding with our new $115 million distillery and making whiskey right here in Kentucky," said Guy Smith, executive vice president of Diageo.Smith said the land just three and a half miles east of Shelbyville will be the perfect home for a new distillery because it has just the right natural resources.

"Our experts came and looked at Shelby County and we found this piece of property," Smith said. "We're pretty particular about where we make our whiskey."

At a public meeting Tuesday night, commissioners unanimously approved Diageo's development plan after a brief presentation from company representatives.

Smith says now it's time to really start planning.

"We've got a few more plans to have different parts of the state government look at and approve, and then we're going to get ready to break ground and get on with it so we can start making whiskey," he said.

Not every Shelby County resident is happy about plans for the new distillery.

"I just have to feel that I am opposed to this," said Shelby County native Casey Stevenson. "I don't think it's good for the county, I don't think it's good for our environment."

Stevenson is concerned about the environmental impact on the lake that surrounds the property.

"That lake was built in the late 50s as a recreational lake for the area. It never was intended to be anything for industrial development," Stevenson said.

Others stood and voiced their concerns about odors once the company starts distilling operations but Smith said the smell shouldn't be too apparent.

"There are odors -- not unpleasant odors, but odors -- that come with lots of agricultural operations," Smith explained.

Other residents are excited for what the distillery could bring to Shelby County.

"This distillery has gone above and beyond what most companies coming into this county do as far as trying to get along with our regulations and try to support the community, so I'm very much in favor of it," said another resident.

A ground breaking date hasn't been set, but the company plans to hire 30 new employees for the distillery.

It hopes to start distilling operations by late 2016.

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