Kentucky governor Steve Beshear, and other elected officials and Kentucky dignitaries, joined Diageo executives and Bulleit founder Tom Bulleit to mark the event.
In May, Diageo announced its intention to invest an estimated US$115 million to build the 750,000 9-litre cases capacity distillery and six barrel warehouses.
In June, Shelby County’s Triple S Planning Commission unanimously approved the distillery project. Along with Bulleit bourbon, the facility will distill a number of current and future Diageo bourbon and North American whiskey brands.
Diageo North America president Larry Schwartz said: “The growth of the Bulleit brand is the result of many years of investment and the relationships Tom has built.
“When I walked away from my career as a lawyer to revive my great, great grandfather’s high-rye bourbon recipe, people thought I was crazy,” said Tom Bulleit. “Twenty-seven years into this entrepreneurial journey, it’s humbling to know this amazing facility right here in Kentucky will bear my family’s name. It’s an honour I’m not sure I will ever fully be able to describe.”
Diageo aims to have the distillery operational in late 2016. Diageo expects the construction phase will provide a significant number of jobs and anticipates employing approximately 30 people for whiskey distillation and maturation.