Recently, Gov. Andy Beshear announced an innovative addition to Kentucky’s signature bourbon industry, as Brothers Wright Distilling Co. will invest nearly $38 million and create 28 quality jobs in Pike County to establish a new distillery that will use a rehabilitated underground coal mine to age the company’s products, according to a statement from Beshear’s office.
“It is great to see the continued growth of our state’s bourbon sector, especially when we have companies that embrace Kentucky’s history the way Brothers Wright Distilling has with this investment,” said Beshear. “This is an incredibly unique project that will utilize a once-forgotten coal mine to bring a great Kentucky product to market. I want to thank the company’s leaders for their commitment and the creation of more great jobs for Kentuckians.”
Company leaders, the statement said, plan to construct a 12,000-square-foot distillery, rickhouse, welcome center, museum and restaurant on 20 acre tracts, part of the larger 1,200 acre property along Ky. 292 in Pike County, with future plans for lodging and an underground visitor experience.
The company will age its Kentucky-made bourbon in a rehabilitated coal mine, encompassing 1,400 acres underground, on the mine property that operated from 1913 through 1946, the statement said. More than 100 years after construction, the mine’s internal dry-stacked rock walls remain intact and the site already serves as home to the first barrels of the company’s product, which were distilled in Pike County, the statement said.
Jobs to be created at the operation include 28 full-time positions ranging from production and maintenance to sales and tours. Additionally, 50 construction and mine rehabilitation jobs are expected. Construction of the new facility in Eastern Kentucky is expected to begin later this year with completion scheduled by the end of 2024, the statement said.
In 2020, the statement said, brothers Kendall and Shannon Wright purchased a 1,200-acre farm along the banks of the Tug Fork tributary of the Big Sandy River and began work to restore the property for use as a corporate retreat location. Following the acquisition, the brothers discovered coal mine maps of the property, which uncovered the location of the mine that is now being used to age the company’s bourbon.
“From 1913 to 1946, more than 23 million tons of coal were mined out of this property,” said Kendall Wright, co-owner and COO of Brothers Wright Distilling Co. “Miners from all over the world traveled here to work, live and provide fuel to our nation during its greatest period of growth. We feel there is something special about honoring the work completed here over a century ago with a completely unique bourbon experience.”
The company’s owners, the statement said, also operate multiple other businesses all over Kentucky and central and southern Appalachia, including parent company Wright Concrete & Construction, employing more than 200 people across all operations.