Indiana-based craft distiller West Fork Whiskey broke ground on its second location Tuesday. The company said it will be one of the state’s largest agritourism destinations.
The Westfield location will tap into the state’s more than $31 billion agriculture sector, including agritourism – which has been growing for decades.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, prior to the pandemic, reported agritourism revenue more than tripled from 2002 to 2017.
The study showed location matters. Being near other outdoor activities had a positive impact on agritourism businesses.
West Fork Whiskey is building just down the road from the 400-acre Grand Park Sports Campus, one of the top sports tourism destinations in the country.
Co-owner David McIntyre said the sports park was a top factor in selecting where to locate the agritourism facility.
“We'd be lying if the 2 million people that come here a year is not a great incentive to, you know, build a business here,” said McIntyre. “So that was a big thing.”
Westfield Mayor Andy Cook said the new 35,000-square foot facility will help develop the economy for the city.
“So we're gonna bring this all together now and put this boring flatland to good use – to create the real mecca of agritourism right here in central Indiana,” said Cook.
The company expects the expansion to meet the rise in demand for Indiana whiskey.
A new state law defines Indiana rye whiskey and sets standards for production.
West Fork Whiskey owners plan the second headquarters in Westfield to be a place where people can learn about Indiana whiskey and the process to make it.
McIntyre said Indiana whiskey represents the state from the hard limestone water to corn.
“We have a lot of the inputs here. And building a facility like this, where we can actually tell the story from, you know, grain in the field to whiskey in the bottle, is a great experience that tourists can see that full process,” he said.
The new facility is expected to be completed in spring 2022 and will make the company one of the 50 largest craft distilleries in the country.
West Fork Whiskey was offered conditional tax credits of up to $450,000 from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC).