Horse Soldier Bourbon breaks ground in Southern Kentucky

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 11:02 AM EDT
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SOMERSET, Ky. (WYMT) - On Tuesday, several Kentucky and Somerset community leaders joined Horse Soldier Bourbon to celebrate the groundbreaking for its new location.

”Our economic landscape for bourbon, for manufacturing and for tourism create the perfect recipe for a business like Horse Soldier Bourbon to not only come to the Commonwealth, but to truly thrive,” said Governor Andy Beshear.

The $200 million project aims to bring new jobs, bourbon and tourism to Pulaski County.

“I want to thank the team at Horse Solider Bourbon for their service to our country,” Governor Beshear said. “We are excited that your next chapter includes making Horse Soldier Bourbon in Somerset and investing in the commonwealth – your story reinforces our belief that Kentucky is truly destined for greatness.”

The company’s return to Kentucky is part of the 20th anniversary of where it all started.

The Horse Soldier team was sent to Afghanistan in 2001 while training on the Cumberland River. Now, they are coming back to the Commonwealth with an award-winning bourbon.

“We are every person you’ve ever known in your family,” said John Koko, president and CEO of Horse Soldier Bourbon. “We’re average guys. It was just our turn to do something. And we are proud to be doing it in a place where our story so naturally fits.”

Somerset Mayor Alan Keck said he is thrilled and grateful to have this development in the area.

”It’s huge,” said Mayor Keck. “You know, this was the vision. We wanted to marry Lake Cumberland and the Bourbon Trail and we’re doing it. It will now become the southern anchor of the Kentucky bourbon trail where I like to tell folks start or end your bourbon experience. It’s going to be huge.

Pulaski County Judge-Executive Steve Kelley echoed the Mayor.

”It’s going to be transformative,” said Kelley. “

And all the ancillary business that’s going to grow because of this venture, it’s huge for Pulaski County. I’m just glad to be a small part of it.”

Somerset Pulaski Economic Development Authority President and CEO, Chris Girdler, took time to reflect on the projects origins, saying that it all began with a cold call to the horse soldiers.

”The initial reaction, the serendipity that came from this was just incredible and it’s been an amazing journey to be on with these American heroes,” said Girdler. “They’re like family to us and we welcome them here with open arms.”

The project will take a few years but is expected to directly create 400 jobs and thousands more across the region.

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