Welcome to the March 4 Monday Business Briefing, your weekly business intelligence digest from Insider Louisville.

GLI bookends events and introduces GLIDE trip to Silicon Valley and beyond

Thomas Frey | Courtesy GLI

The local chamber of commerce has air travel on its mind. First, at the Greater Louisville Inc. annual meeting last Monday, the futurist Thomas Frey predicted disruption in air travel by drone taxis, self-driving cars and mini airports. One outcome for the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport: fewer parked cars and less revenue for the airport authority, Frey suggested.

During a top investor event on Friday morning about nonstop flights, Dan Mann, executive director of the Louisville Regional Airport Authority, noted that even with the airport’s routinely packed parking lot, a new $40 million parking garage wasn’t the answer. “I said no, I don’t think we should do that. In seven or eight years, I think shared rides, and driverless cars will have an impact.”

Speaking of nonstop, two years ago, there were 21 nonstop destinations from SDF. Now, there are 33 nonstop destinations and growing, GLI noted. On the wish list are Boston, San Francisco, Seattle and Toronto. “That’s a big, tall order,” said Chuck Denny, PNC Bank regional president, who introduced the panel on Friday. “But I know we can make it happen. Let’s all take a flight to Los Angeles, many times.”

The nonstop service to Los Angeles on American Airlines starts April 3. As of Sunday morning, basic economy seats were available for $347 round trip, $407 in the main cabin and one first-class seat was available at $878.

GLI last week also introduced GLIDE 2019, Sept. 8-11 in San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Sonoma County, which coincides with the chamber’s year of technology, where the goal is to “gain insight into how to fast-forward our approach to” attracting big companies and talent, said Deana Epperly Karem, vice president for regional economic growth, on Friday. The trip, which tends to sell out, is open to top investors and board members first, then to members after April 30. —Mickey Meece

Wine industry responds to bourbon’s demand for equal treatment in SB99

Kentucky is one of five states that don’t allow direct winery-to-consumer shipping. | Courtesy of Free the Grapes!

On Wednesday, Insider brought you the story about the new wine shipping legislation, Senate Bill 99, which has passed the Senate and could possibly be called up to committee this week. The controversy of the bill, which would allow direct out-of-state shipments of wine to Kentucky consumers, is that it doesn’t give the state’s bourbon industry equal footing, so says Eric Gregory, president of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association.

After that piece ran, we received an email from Jeremy Benson, executive director of Free the Grapes! — a national grassroots coalition that endorsed SB99, since Kentucky is one of five states that doesn’t allow shipping of wine — with a few points his group would like to make:

  • Adding spirits to SB99 would not increase the ability of Kentucky distillers to ship directly to consumers in other states. To the contrary, it would allow Kentuckians to order spirits from all over the country to compete with Kentucky bourbon. The key point that gets lost is that a consumer’s ability to receive shipments from U.S. distillers, wineries or brewers is determined by state laws covering the destination of the shipment, not its origin.
  • SB99 is based on what the wine industry calls the “model direct shipping bill,” which was the culmination of negotiations back in the late 1990s. It never included beer or spirits companies, only wineries. So to suggest that it’s not right because of “equal treatment” … is very odd. I can’t think of a state that has ever combined wine and spirits direct shipping into one bill. Here’s a link to the model bill language.
  • HB400 never worked for wine lovers in Kentucky — FedEx and UPS are not shipping.

We took Benson’s concerns to Gregory and the KDA, and they remain firm on their stance against this legislation.

Gregory added: “I’m not sure how they do things in California, but in Kentucky, we strive for fairness, parity and equal treatment between alcohol sectors. They’re right that other states probably haven’t combined wine and spirits shipping because no other state has the tremendous economic and tourism impact from spirits — not to mention 200 years of rich history — like Kentucky. We are the birthplace of bourbon, and for out-of-state wine interests to think we would not seek equal treatment for our $8.6 billion signature industry is preposterous.”

If SB99 passes out of committee this week, it’ll go into effect with Gov. Bevin’s signature, but if it doesn’t get called into committee, it’ll likely disappear with the angel’s share. —Sara Havens

8UP joins Chicago-based First Hospitality Group

8UP | Photo by Emily Schultz

8UP Elevated Drinkery & Kitchen has been acquired by First Hospitality Group, a development company out of Chicago that owns and operates 45 properties in 10 states, including six other restaurants.

The company also owns the Hilton Garden Inn, which is where 8UP is located — well, eight stories up from the ground floor — and Hilton’s Home2Suites in NuLu.

First Hospitality plans to focus on service and building up a steady stream of regulars as well as making slight tweaks to the menu, including improving classic dishes and adding new options like foie gras mousse and scallops. They also plan to bring back the popular dry-rub chicken wings.

8UP opened in 2014 and was initially run by Concentrics Restaurants based in Atlanta. —Sara Havens

Air Devil’s Inn benefit raises more than $4,000

Check out the new awning. | Courtesy of Air Devil’s Inn

Last month, Insider brought you the news that Air Devil’s Inn, a beloved Bowman Field-area bar, was in need of some desperate help. The 85-year-old bar is on its last leg trying to keep up with repairs on a building that dates back to 1857.

Co-owner Kristie Shockley reached out to us late last week to share the good news that the bar was able to raise more than $4,000 with one benefit party held Sunday, Feb. 16. Another one is planned for Saturday, March 9.

“We are estimating 500 people attended,” said Shockley, who helps run the bar with her husband, Russell. “We raised $4,115, which was deposited into an account designated for repairs. The first things to be addressed will be our men’s room, the sagging floors and some other small things.”

A GoFundMe page also was started, and so far it has raised $465 on a $5,000 goal. Several people offered free plumbing and repair services, and a new awning was donated by River City Distribution. —Sara Havens

Spalding starts Kentucky’s first school of writing

Nineteen years ago, Spalding University created Kentucky’s first Master of Fine Arts writing program, which has been attended by many of the state’s leading authors, poets and scribes. Now, the Louisville university is starting Kentucky’s first school of writing — more specifically, the School of Creative and Professional Writing.

The school says it will incorporate Spalding’s existing graduate writing programs — the MFA and a post-baccalaureate certificate in creative writing — as well as a newly created Master of Arts in Writing program.

“With our existing programs in creative writing, Spalding is already one of the most innovative and affordable graduate writing programs in the U.S.,” said Kathleen Driskell, the current MFA program director who will step into the role of chair of the school, in a news release. “With the addition of the MAW and our new status as a school of writing, Spalding becomes one of the most innovative, comprehensive and affordable low-residency graduate writing schools in the country.”

Pending approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, the first application deadline is Aug. 1. —Sara Havens

So long, Google Fiber, we hardly knew ye

Tax day will have a new wrinkle for a few neighborhoods in Louisville. Google Fiber reminded customers that its super fast internet service was ending here April 15. “Please begin finding another internet provider now,” read the notice that hit mailboxes last week. On the bright side, Google Fiber, started in Louisville in 2017, is free until then and customers do not have to return the Google Wi-Fi and Nvidia Shield devices that came with installation, it said, adding that a factory reset is recommended. Mickey Meece

Old Louisville clinic offers substance abuse treatment

All Around Healthcare grand opening Feb. 27 at 1151 S. 4th St., Suite 100. | Courtesy of All Around

A clinic has opened in Old Louisville to provide basic health care services to the public and help people who are trying to break free from opioid addiction and alcohol abuse.

All Around Healthcare held a grand opening Wednesday at the South Fourth Street facility, where patients can receive primary care and urgent care for common illnesses and injuries.

But the substance abuse treatment is what has led the clinic to partner up with Louisville Metro Department of Corrections. The clinic offers Vivitrol, a monthly shot that’s intended to be given as part of a treatment plan that includes counseling after detox, according to the product’s website.

Corrections “sends their released inmates to both our locations for immediate addiction treatment,” All Around Chief Executive Montez Malone said in an email of Shively and now Old Louisville. “Since our new location has opened closer to downtown Louisville, these unique services will have even more of an impact on inmates with addiction being released from incarceration from the downtown Louisville Metro Corrections facility.” Darla Carter

In Brief

Endeavor Louisville is accepting entry applications for Endeavor Entrepreneurs; AAF-Louisville announced over 100 ADDY Awards; Pizza Hut is testing the FedEx SameDay Bot delivery service in Memphis this summer, AdAge reports; and to own a home in Jefferson County, you’ll need 26 percent of your annual income, according to the March RealtyHop Housing Affordability Index.

What we’re reading

Chef Ed Lee explains the connection between graffiti and fine cuisine in this first-person article in The New York Times.

Barron’s Penta profiles the serial entrepreneurs Joe and Lesley Heron of Copper & Kings. “The reason we’re in Kentucky is we make American brandy with a capital A and a capital B,” Joe Heron says in the article. “Being anchored in Kentucky gives us a rational anchor on that.”

Amazon, which bought Whole Foods in 2017, is working on three grocery formats, the first of which could open this year, reported The Wall Street Journal.