Plans for the location of the new Horse Soldier Bourbon have not been set in stone – nor the exact location announced – but Somerset Mayor Alan Keck dropped a hint about where the development may set up shop at Monday’s City Council meeting.
Council approved the purchase of property along Old Monticello Road near the city’s water plant in the southern part of the city limits, near Waitsboro.
The property, as Keck explained, would be used by the city as a way to run utilities to a potential distillery and grant roadway access to it.
The city would buy around 15 acres of land. The owners of the parcels have agreed to sell four lots for a total of $360,000.
The property in which the actual distillery would be located would be purchased by the owners of Horse Soldier Bourbon.
Keck said the city’s purchase was part of the recruitment deal to lure Horse Soldier Bourbon here.
Although the resolution to allow the city to buy its property passed, several concerns were raised by both councilors and members of the public.
Old Monticello Road resident Kathy Prichard addressed the council asking several questions, one of which was asking how the development or an added roadway would affect the leach lines on her property.
Keck responded that part of the reason to buy the land was to build and enhanced sewer line for the area and said that other property owners in the area would have to opportunity to connect to it.
Prichard also raised concerns about a cemetery that is supposed to be on the property the city is buying.
“There’s also a gravesite that holds the slaves that were a part of that homestead. Are you guys aware of that?” Prichard asked.
Keck responded that he was.
“We want to make sure that we honor them if that arises, but again, right now this is just for potential access,” Keck said.
Later, he added, “It’s certainly something that we’ll definitely try to work around if it comes up.”
As for the development in general, Keck tried to calm fears about what it would do for the surrounding property owners.
“Anything we do there will add value, both in roadway and utilities,” he said.
In response to questions from the council, Keck said that the property is not currently within the city limits, but once bought, the plan is to annex it into the city.
He added that any annexation would be voluntary, not forced.
Keck also assured council members that the city would not be forced to buy its property if the Horse Soldier Bourbon's land sale falls through. Rather, the property sales will be closed simultaneously, or the city would buy its property just after the distillery owners purchase their land.
It was announced in December that Horse Soldier Bourbon will invest in a $50 million project that would add 56 direct jobs to the area and would increase tourism by, hopefully, becoming a part of the famed Kentucky Bourbon Trail.