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Nearly $10M Investment In New Distillery Could Raise Spirits In Hickman, Ky.

Courtesy of RH Resolute Distillery, Inc.
RH Resolute Distillery Inc. is opening a distillery in rural Hickman, Ky.

A Paducah-based startup bourbon whiskey producer is opening a distillery in Hickman. RH Resolute Distillery, Inc. is investing $9.7 million in the Fulton County location and will create 17 full-time jobs.

The company is finishing construction and outfitting a previous distillery project and will begin distilling by late summer. The location is a nearly complete distillery built by Memphis attorney Ray Jamieson.

RH Resolute is a partnership between brand director Sarah Jones and her husband local businessman Chuck Jones and chief operational officer Matt Haney and his father Mike. The Haney family owns and operates HBS Copper in Barlow.

Thomas McKenzie is RH Resolute's master distiller. He previously consulted for distilleries in Kentucky.

The company has a target production of 400 barrels per week and will then increase to a projected maximum capacity of 2,600 barrels weekly. McKenzie anticipates operation by early September.

“We’ll have a couple brands that we’ll be putting up ourselves,” McKenzie said. “We’ll have some whiskey out in a year or so probably, or sooner, that will have our name on it and we’ll be making whiskey for other distilleries in the state, bulk customers primarily.” He said their product would be distributed initially in Kentucky, then Tennessee and eventually nationwide.

McKenzie said the RH Resolute hopes to boost tourism in Paducah and Hickman with tastings and tours of the facility. He said the region has a whiskey history many don’t know about, noting I.W. Harper got its start in Paducah. He envisions a Paducah version of Louisville’s famed “Whiskey Row.”

The full-time positions at the Hickman plant include production, barrel filling and handling and equipment maintenance. A hiring event is July 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Fulton County Judge-Executive Office Building in Hickman.

Governor Matt Bevin said in a release on Tuesday he looks forward to the company beginning production and the economic impact it will have in west Kentucky. State and local leaders praised the company for locating in an unused facility and noted a potential for an influx of business opportunities in the region.

Hickman Mayor David Lattus said in the release, “Our city is 100 percent in support of the new job and wealth creation this will bring to our citizens and entire area.”

McKenzie said, “The county’s been real good to us. The city’s been real receptive. We haven’t heard a bad word, nowhere.” He described Hickman as an “economically needy area” and added that everyone feels better when there’s development. Hickman is located along the Mississippi River in Fulton County, one of the rural western river counties that have long struggled with relatively high unemployment and poverty rates. 

“The bourbon industry has been good to Kentucky, especially in the last 15 to 20 years, and there’s no reason they can’t do it out here in western Kentucky,” McKenzie said.

Matt Markgraf joined the WKMS team as a student in January 2007. He's served in a variety of roles over the years: as News Director March 2016-September 2019 and previously as the New Media & Promotions Coordinator beginning in 2011. Prior to that, he was a graduate and undergraduate assistant. He is currently the host of the international music show Imported on Sunday nights at 10 p.m.
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