FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A Nicholasville-based animal nutrition company is planning to build a new bourbon distillery and aquaculture and poultry farms in Pikeville as part of an initiative to develop business in eastern Kentucky.
Alltech will get $13.7 million in support from the state to widen roads and build a bridge to accommodate the new businesses announced Monday.
The Lexington Herald-Leader reported (http://bit.ly/1o4lbxR ) that the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet would provide up to $5.73 million for an access road wide enough to accommodate tractor-trailers to the site of the farms. The state also will provide $8 million for a bridge connecting the access road with U.S. 23. The distillery will be in downtown Pikeville.
Alltech co-founder Deirdre Lyons says said construction would start on the Dueling Barrels distillery when engineering and demolition were completed on the site Alltech now owns. Construction on the poultry and aquaculture farms will start when the access road and bridge are completed.
The project is part of the Shaping Our Appalachian Region, or SOAR, initiative, which focuses on reviving eastern Kentucky's economy.
The aquaculture and poultry farms will be on 380 acres known as Marion Branch, formerly the site of a surface coal mine. The aquaculture facility will produce 1.2 million pounds of fish a year. The poultry farm will house only hens that lay eggs.
Lyons said Eastern Kentucky's struggle to keep jobs has always reminded her of Ireland, where she was born and raised.
"Ireland's biggest export has always been its people, and I think Eastern Kentucky is similar," Lyons said.
Lyons said the distillery would cost $10 million to $12 million, the poultry facility $3million to $5 million and the aquaculture facility $8 million to $10 million.
Beshear said the developments would help Eastern Kentucky residents by providing construction and local jobs.
"Some skeptics keep suggesting that economic development is impossible in eastern Kentucky," Beshear said. "Well they're wrong, and we're here today to prove them wrong once again."
Lyons said it was hard to say exactly how many jobs the three facilities would create.
Pikevile Mayor Frank Justice described the flat Marion Branch area as "gold" for developing businesses in the hills of Eastern Kentucky.
"As a coal operator, I personally know the hardship created by the downward spiral in the coal industry," Justice said. "I've seen the pain on the faces of many friends who have lost their careers, along with the ability to support their families."
Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader, http://www.kentucky.com