The Somerset community is celebrating the official groundbreaking of a new distillery with strong ties to the U.S military.
Horse Soldier Bourbon was founded by retired members of the U.S Special Forces who were among the first soldiers to enter Afghanistan after the September 11th terrorist attacks. Tuesday’s groundbreaking ceremony took place on the 20th anniversary of the day those soldiers crossed into Afghanistan.
According to Horse Soldier Bourbon Chief Operating Officer Scott Neil, Somerset Mayor Alan Keck reached out to them two years ago about starting a distillery in Pulaski County.
Neil said when he and his fellow soldiers looked at a map to see where Somerset was located, they realized they already had a connection to the region.
“What made it especially interesting, it was on Lake Cumberland, and when 9/11 happened, we were on the Cumberland doing a training exercise,” Neil said. “So it kind of spoke to us as probably the right place for the rest of our lives, so we decided to pursue building in Somerset.”
Horse Soldier Bourbon is currently distilled in Ohio. The company will transfer its operations to Somerset once the new distillery is finished.
Tuesday marked the beginning of that new effort, a $200 million project that will include more than just whiskey distilling. Neil says his company’s plans include the building of an amphitheater, adventure center, wedding chapel, luxury lodge, and cabins.
Horse Soldier hopes to become the first member of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail located in the southeastern part of the state.