Monday Business Briefing: Vintage spirit bill may be a boon for retailers; get ready for Lemonade Day; Louisville’s low-cost office space; and more
Welcome to the March 13 Monday Business Briefing, your private business intelligence digest from Insider Louisville.
New vintage spirit legislation could greatly increase bourbon inventory at bars and restaurants
Bar owners and bourbon enthusiasts across the state gleefully raised a toast when House Bill 100 sailed through the Senate on March 8.
Filed by the Kentucky Distillers’ Association and sponsored by Rep. Chad McCoy of Bardstown, the bill, once it’s signed by Gov. Matt Bevin, will allow the purchase and sale of vintage spirits between private individuals and retail outlets.
“House Bill 100 is another important step forward in modernizing the commonwealth’s alcohol laws and strengthening Kentucky’s rightful place as the one, true and authentic home of bourbon and distilled spirits,” said KDA president Eric Gregory in a press release. “Now, Kentucky bars, restaurants and package stores will be able to assemble the world’s finest bourbon and spirits libraries, attracting more and more tourists and whiskey connoisseurs from all over the world.”
So what does this mean to the average Joe? To help distill this news, so to speak, we called up whiskey collector, connoisseur and owner of Haymarket Whiskey Bar Matthew Landan to break it down.
“Let’s say you’re doing some construction on your house and you knock through a wall and there’s a case of whiskey from pre-Prohibition,” Landan says. “The way things are now, you can’t sell it as a private person, and I can’t buy it from you as a licensed retailer. But, with the new law, you could sell it to me.”
Not all of us can be so lucky as to stumble upon a booty of bourbon, but maybe we’re holding onto our grandfather’s Old Forester from 1949 or even a Birthday Bourbon from 2007. We’re now able to sell that bottle legally to any bar or package store willing to buy it, and the retailer can either hold onto it, sell it by the drink, or sell it by the bottle if it has the correct license.
The only parameters are the bottle cannot be open, can no longer be available from a distributor and cannot be owned by a distillery.
Landan doesn’t think vintage legislation will completely end private trading sites and secondary markets, but it will allow retail outlets to operate within that market — to some extent.
“What it does is bring the black market into the light,” he says. “What is now occurring privately between individuals on Facebook, there can now be records of it. If you sell me a bottle, I’ll write a receipt, claim it as inventory, and when I sell it, I pay all the sales tax on it.”
He’s curious to learn about the fine details of the bill, once it’s officially signed into law, but for now, he’s thrilled about the thought of having vintage spirits to sell to his patrons by Derby. In fact, Landan says his current inventory of more than 400 whiskeys could potentially double. And someday, he’d like Haymarket to boast one of the largest collections in not only the commonwealth, but the country as well.
“There’s a lot of whiskey in the attics and basements of Louisville,” he says. “There’s a lot of people with extensive collections who have been collecting for years, and maybe they’ll loosen their hold on it. Maybe they’ll say, ‘Hey, I could sell it to a bar, taste it, and make money on it.’ And it’ll be completely legal to do so.”
Finally, H.B. 100 is a win for bourbon and whiskey consumers. If bar collections continue to grow, it simply means more choices for us and more opportunities to connect with our state’s rich and spirited history.
Imagine trying a pre-Prohibition-era Old Grand-Dad or an early edition of an Evan Williams single barrel that was distilled before a fire burned the distillery down. Or imagine trying samples of Birthday Bourbons from each year they’ve been released. The snifter runneth over. —Sara Havens
First Trust Centre renovations to feature art-focused atrium and rooftop hangout
Louisville-based real estate company PRG Commercial Property Group has revealed more details about plans to renovate the historic First Trust Centre at the corner of Fifth and Market streets.
PRG represented Market Street Real Estate Partners out of Miami, which bought the 135,497-square-foot building for $5.82 million, Insider Louisville previously reported. The company also is handling the leasing and helping oversee renovations.
The new owners “are going to make a sizable investment in the building. That’s what they do,” said Tyler Smith, PRG’s executive vice president, adding that there are no cost estimates yet.
Market Street Real Estate Partners already has hired a new property management company, Louisville-based PMR Companies, and in less than 60 days from now, workers will begin transforming vacant office space, the atrium and the entrance of the First Trust Centre.
The main entrance on Fifth Street is currently glass and brass, surrounded by a historic facade. Nothing’s been settled with how it will change, Smith said, simply that it will.
The pièce de résistance will be the white atrium, he said, which will be the pops of color and artwork throughout the space. PRG is talking with local artists about the possibility of incorporating unique lighting and multiple mediums.
“We are really just trying to get creative ideas from local artists,” Smith said. “We want people to say ‘Wow.’ ”
Another idea being tossed around: a bike valet service in the lobby for those who want to bike to work.
PRG also is working out the logistics for a rooftop lounging area where building tenants can eat lunch, take a break or hang out after work. The roof could also serve as event space as Smith said they plan to have a bar and contract with a company to provide bartenders when needed.
“We really want to attract companies that have a tech feel,” Smith said, such as marketing firms, venture capitalists and architects.
In terms of the office spaces, workers will build out a 2,700-square-foot model office space for potential tenants to tour. Although final renderings haven’t been approved, Smith said, the space will be open with an exposed industrial feel and glassed-in offices. Currently, the vacant offices are chopped up and out-of-date, with some even unfinished.
“We want to keep the historic value, but we want to make it more modern and welcoming,” Smith said.
The entire 23,000-square-foot second floor is vacant and will be renovated as new tenants move into the building, Smith said. There also is vacant space on the third floor, which will be renovated last.
The First Trust Centre can accommodate tenants who need anything from 2,500 square feet to 25,000 square feet. And at $13 to $18 per square foot, Smith said PRG expects to pull tenants from other downtown offices. —Caitlin Bowling
Papa John’s introduces pizza tracker
Nine years after competitor Domino’s Pizza debuted its pizza tracker, Louisville-based Papa John’s International has joined the party.
The trackers allow customers to see when employees start making their pizza, when it goes in the oven and goes out for delivery. Papa John’s has named its Papa Track, according to a news release. Papa Track also includes an option to share customized Papa John’s memes and gifs on social media while waiting.
“When it comes to technology and innovation, we are committed to improvements that positively affect the customer experience,” the company’s Chief Information and Digital Officer Mike Nettles said in the release.
Ford tests 3D printing car parts
Speaking of the Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker: Ford is testing 3D printing automotive components to reduce costs, improve fuel efficiency and to eventually offer customized parts.
The basic process involves designing parts on a computer and sending the specifications to a 3D printer, which prints the design layer by layer using some type of raw material, such as plastic, metal and glass.
While 3D printing does not yet lend itself to high-volume manufacturing because the process takes too long, Ford said in a press release that the technology is advancing quickly and seeing ever new applications, from rapid prototyping to aerospace and education.
For example, the automaker said that the process has significantly cut costs and time for rapid prototyping. Traditionally, it would take months for engineers to design a part on a computer, create the tooling and make the part, whereas the process takes only a few days now. Louisville-based GE Appliances, too, is using 3D printing for rapid prototyping.
Ford said that as the technology improves and gets less expensive, it envisions printing parts such as spoiler that “may weigh less than half its cast metal counterpart” and, eventually, personalized components.
Time to register your K-5 kiddo for Lemonade Day
Last month IL let you know that LouVino owners Lauren and Chad Coulter had decided to organize a Lemonade Day in Louisville. Now it’s time to register your child online or at various events around the area.
Lemonade Day is a free, experiential program that teaches children how to start, own and operate their very own business – a lemonade stand. The program is offered annually and is in more than 50 cities nationwide, but this is the first time it will be offered in Louisville.
Each child, K-5, who registers will receive a free backpack and an entrepreneurship workbook that teaches them 14 lessons, including “how to set a goal, make a plan, work the plan and achieve their dreams,” according to a news release. Once registered, your child can pick up the packet at any River City Bank location. The bank is the program’s primary sponsor in Louisville.
If you’d like to socialize with other parents, teachers, mentors and youth leaders who are helping kids get through the program there is a Lemonade Day Kick Off and Happy Hour on Thursday, March 16 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at LouVino Douglass Hills at 11400 Main St.
You can also register at two River City Bank locations on Saturday, March 25 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Highlands at 2501 Bardstown Road and Jeffersontown at 10130 Taylorsville Road. The final registration event is Saturday, April 8 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at PRP River City Bank at 6308 Greenwood Road. River City Bank is also putting $5 in any new savings account opened by Lemonade Day Louisville participants.
Louisville is among the cheapest places to lease office space, report finds
Office space in downtown Louisville ranked third overall in affordability compared with 49 other downtown markets, according to a recently released report from commercial real estate company CBRE.
In the Midwest, Louisville is second only to St. Louis. The average rental rate for downtown office space in Louisville is $16.71 per square foot. St. Louis’s average rate is $16.19 per square foot. Albuquerque, N.M., took the top spot at $16 per square foot.
Louisville also ranked sixth overall in affordability compared with 58 suburban markets, CBRE’s report found. The average rate at suburban offices in Louisville is $17.96 per square foot, according to CBRE. Albuquerque, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Greenville, S.C., and Detroit were ahead of Louisville.
Overall, experts believe the Louisville office market will see steady growth this year and that more companies may look at moving into downtown offices, given the low rates and surrounding amenities. —Caitlin Bowling
Residents concerned about proposed Shelby Street liquor store
Louisville resident Michael Lundy has proposed opening a liquor store in a vacant property at 1496 S. Shelby St., just across from dive bar The Cure Lounge.
Lundy placed an advertisement notifying the public that he planned to apply for a liquor license to sell packaged alcohol at a business called Shelby Street Liquors.
Some residents of the Schnitzelburg and Germantown neighborhoods took to the neighborhood website Nextdoor to complain about the proposed business.
Commenters stated that the neighborhoods don’t need another liquor store and that there are plenty of places nearby where people can purchase beer, wine and liquor. Some felt the negatives of a new liquor store outweighed the positives.
Others said they planned to complain to the Alcohol Beverage Control commission.
Brackets for Good Challenge continues…
The annual charity competition that forces you to decide whether you want your charity dollars to go to puppies or cancer patients is underway. The Brackets for Good Challenge is a bracket-style fundraising tournament in which a $1 donation equals one point to a charity’s score. It takes place in 11 cities all around the country.
The idea behind Brackets for Good is that people will learn about new charities. You may participate to support your usual charity, but then discover a new charity that also interests you.
And the numbers play that out. According to Brackets for Good, 36 percent of donors during last year’s competition were first-time donors to that charity and that represented 26 percent of the total funds donated through the championship.
In the first week of 2017’s competition, over $70,000 was raised for the initial 64 Louisville charities. The overall winner gets an additional $10,000 bonus provided by Louisville presenting sponsor, Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP.