The chief executive officer of One Southern Indiana says Wednesday’s announcement from Louisiana-based Sazerac Co. speaks to the business environment in the region and throughout the entire state. The distiller says it will invest more than $400 million to build a new facility in Charlestown and create nearly 370 jobs by the end of 2027. Wendy Dant Chesser says the project is the 200th economic development announcement since 1si was established in 2006 and marks more than $2 billion of investment in Clark and Floyd counties.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Dant Chesser said a healthy business climate is contributing to Sazerac’s continued investment in the region.
“We believe we’ve got a great product to sell. We’ve got the capacity to service companies like this and it doesn’t hurt that southern Indiana counties are part of a 1.3 million population MSA when you look at the greater Louisville area,” she said. “The area’s growing fast. We’re seeing a big piece of that in our Indiana counties and it’s great that when we build relationships with companies like Sazerac, they are able to see future growth in our community.”
Sazerac first established operations in southern Indiana in 2018 by acquiring the former General Mills Pillsbury plant in New Albany and transformed it into alcohol bottling plant. The company has expanded that facility multiple times with a total commitment of more than $150 million and 250 jobs.
The new facility will be built on 1,400 acres of land adjacent to the River Ridge Commerce Center. The area was once used by the Indiana Army Ammunition Plant, much of which has been transformed at River Ridge.
“However, this parcel was carved out independently years ago and it’s nice to see that there’s some development taking place adjacent to River Ridge in addition to all that we see happening inside River Ridge,” said Dant Chesser.
Charlestown is part of the Our Southern Indiana region, which was one of five to receive the full $50 million allocation from the state’s READI grant program last week. Dant Chesser says the Sazerac announcement builds on that momentum.
“It’s going to take us right into 2022 with some very positive wind behind our sails,” she said. “I guess our concern is that we have to make sure we have the capacity [for] all of the infrastructure around this growth and READI will help us do that as well. But, if the state’s ambitions with READI were population growth and further economic investment, I hope this solidifies the decisions that the state’s making and the investments they are making are paying off for Indiana as a whole.”
One Southern Indiana, which is the chamber of commerce and economic development organization for Clark and Floyd counties, says Sazerac plans to begin construction in 2022, though it will not begin hiring for the new jobs until 2023 or 2024.