NEW ALBANY — The Sazerac Company is coming to New Albany.
One of the oldest, family-owned distilling companies in the United States made the announcement last week that it was purchasing the old Pillsbury plant with plans to phase in two to three packaging lines. That move was contingent on the New Albany City Council approving a resolution to provide tax abatements on both personal property and real estate. The council did that Monday night by a 9-0 vote and with plenty of praise for the company and those who brokered the deal.
"In my seven years this is one of the biggest things to happen to New Albany as far as bringing jobs in," Councilman Greg Phipps said.
He said the New Albany Board of Works may want to consider renaming Pillsbury Lane, the road where the plant is located, to Bourbon Lane.
"This is a major, major win for the community," Councilman Bob Caesar said.
City Council President Al Knable said prior to the meeting the incentives offered by the city total around $3 million.
Sazerac, a Louisiana-based company with a principal office in Louisville, plans to invest $66 million to purchase, renovate and equip the 455,000 square-foot former Pillsbury plant which sits on 58 acres at 707 Pillsbury Lane. The hope is to have the plant in operation by November.
The Indiana Economic Development Corp. also offered Sazerac up to $900,000 in conditional tax credits and another $150,000 in training grants based on the company's job creation plans. These tax credits are performance-based, meaning until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives.
Pillsbury closed its New Albany plant two years ago and since that time, officials have tried to find interest and the right fit for the facility.
"It's very important the way 1si [One Southern Indiana] and the city came together on this," Councilman Dave Barksdale said. "I didn't think we would see another manufacturing company go back there. I had no idea a company of this quality would go in there. Hats off to those who made it possible."
The company plans to hire 110 workers by 2021, hiring 50 this year. The average wage for those workers will be $24 an hour.
Sazerac has several spirit manufacturing facilities in North America with 11 plants and nearly 2,000 employees in Maine, New Hampshire, Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, California, Kentucky and Montreal. The New Albany facility will be the company's first in Indiana.
New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan issued a statement which was read by Mike Hall, a city spokesman, prior to the vote.
"When General Mills announced it would close its doors a couple of years ago, we worked hard to help the employees most affected by the news," the mayor said in the statement. "With Sazerac on the verge of coming to New Albany, I can't help but marvel at how far we have come. Sazerac has a rich and storied past, and I am certain this quality company will be embraced by our community."