Welcome to The Closing Bell. This is your last stop for biz scoops and big news before the weekend — a roundup of stories that can’t wait till Monday.

Michter’s to invest $6.7M for Louisville expansion

Michter’s Distillery plans to invest nearly $6.7 million to expand its manufacturing capabilities in Louisville, according to filings with the state.

Company leaders declined to provide details on the project, but documents from the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority indicate that Michter’s would spend about $5 million on equipment, $1 million on building and improvements, $530,000 on land and $100,000 on other startup costs.

The company “has seen demand for its products steadily increase” in recent years, according to the filing.

Michter’s plans to hire 15 people, who would be paid an average of $35, including employee benefits.

Connie Kam, Michter’s executive vice president, told Insider via email that the cooperation from the state was “an important step as we make plans for expansion that would create more jobs for Kentucky residents.”

Kam and President Joseph J. Magliocco told Insider they could not elaborate further at this time.

The state has preliminarily approved tax incentives of $300,000.

Michter’s, known for its small-batch, high-quality products, has a 67,000-square-foot distillery in Shively and has announced plans to begin construction on a downtown Louisville distillery at the site of the Fort Nelson Building on West Main Street. That project has been in the works for quite some time, with setbacks in renovating the historic building, but officials told Insider that they are confident Michter’s will have a presence downtown in 2018. —Boris Ladwig

State: Four companies plan to invest about $30 million in the Louisville area

Screenshot from RSCS website

The state plans to provide a $500,000 grant to a local restaurant supplier to persuade it to keep its operations in Louisville.

Restaurant Supply Chain Solutions had considered moving its operations to Texas after one of its customers, Yum Brands, decided to move its executive team there.

“When Yum announced that its executive team would be relocating to Texas in February 2016, RSCS had some concerns about whether or not the supply chain should follow,” according to a filing with the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority.

RSCS “negotiates pricing for over 22,000 products including food, packaging and equipment,” according to the filing.

The company plans to invest $3.5 million to upgrade its 950 Breckenridge Lane facility and retain its staff of 102. RSCS could not be reached Thursday.

Other planned investments with local ties that were listed in the state filing:

  • Credit and debit card manufacturer Arroweye Solutions plans to invest $9.5 million on a new production site in Louisville “due to the tremendous growth in the past 12 months.” The state has preliminarily approved tax incentives of $30,000. The company could not be reached Thursday.
  • Greif Packaging LLC, which owns Multicorr, plans to invest nearly $15.5 million on an expansion because of “continuing sales growth.” The company also plans to hire 17 people who would make $29 per hour, including benefits. The state preliminarily has approved incentives of $350,000. The company could not be reached Thursday.
  • Bluegrass Supply Chain Services plans to invest nearly $1.6 million to lease a building for office and warehousing in Shepherdsville. The company offers light assembly, transportation management, warehousing and other services. The project would create 24 jobs with an hourly wage of $18. The state has preliminarily approved tax incentives of $300,000. The company could not be reached Thursday. —Boris Ladwig

Riverfront restaurant expanded, adds accommodations for boaters

River House Restaurant and Raw Bar and Levee at the River House added a lower tier to its terrace. | Courtesy of M2 Maximum Media

The already large River House Restaurant and Raw Bar and Levee at the River House have added even more outdoor seating for customers at the adjoining sister restaurants along the Ohio River.

The expansion more than doubled the size of the restaurants’ patio space and now will seat up to 300 people, according to an announcement about the changes. River House also got a new full-service outdoor bar, and Adirondack chairs and lawn games were placed along the riverbank for customers.

The project cost about $120,000 and took three months to finish.

Starting next month, River House and Levee will also offer dockside service for boats that dock at one of the restaurants’ eight boat slips.

Both River House and Levee, located at 3015 River Road next to KingFish, are owned by chef John Varanese and opened in February 2016.

Varanese already has more expansion plans in the works for 2018, including a parking lot expansion and the build out of a 11,000-square-foot space on the second floor for private events. —Caitlin Bowling

John Schnatter, Papa John’s cheese supplier highlighted in Forbes

John Schnatter with his famous Camaro and the comedian Jay Leno. | Courtesy of Papa John’s Facebook

Forbes printed a brief interview with Papa John’s founder John Schnatter this week as part of a larger feature about the secretive billionaire who provides the top pizza chains with a key ingredient — mozzarella cheese.

In the short article, Schnatter says that despite recently making Forbes’ billionaires list, he remains appreciative because he remembers starting out in debt. “You never forget that,” he told Forbes.

And of course, the now-famous story of Schnatter’s Camaro was included. Schnatter told Forbes that many people thought he was crazy to offer a $250,000 reward for the car he’d sold decades earlier.

Through his success — and the success of Domino’s and Pizza Hut — a little-known billionaire was created. Forbes highlighted Leprino Foods head James Leprino, who is the exclusive mozzarella cheese provider for Papa John’s and other companies. The company supplies Papa John’s with filler-free cheese but for three extra cents on the pound, Schnatter said.

On a related note, Papa John’s just debuted an interesting new pizza called the Bacon Cheddarburger Pizza. The pie is topped with Wisconsin Cheddar, zesty burger sauce and pickles.

The limited-time-only offering costs $10 for a large or pan pizza version.

Papa John’s has tapped Indiana Pacers All-Star Paul George to market the new pizza in a quirky commercial in which George flies through the air, ball in dunking position, to a nearby Papa John’s in search of the pizza. —Caitlin Bowling

The peach truck is coming! The peach truck is coming!

Every year around this time, IL gets hyped up by the promise of the peach truck’s arrival— and to dust off this most excellent Presidents of the United States of America music video.

C’mon, you know it makes you smile.

Nashville’s hipster Peach Truck returns to Louisville this weekend for the fourth year. Louisvillians love their delicious Carored peaches, waiting in long lines and shelling out some big cash (they haven’t announced prices for the season).

Owners Stephen and Jessica Rose import Georgia peaches from 130-year-old Pearson Farms in Georgia. The truck is a staple at Nashville farmers markets but it does make the regional rounds this time of year.

On Sunday, May 28 the truck will be at Tractor Supply Co. at 11250 Preston Highway, from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m., then at Wallitsch Nursery and Garden Center, from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. On Monday, it will be at Brownsboro Hardware at 4858 Brownsboro Road, from noon until 2 p.m., then at the Brownsboro Hardware at 9521 U.S. 42 in Prospect, from 3 p.m until 5 p.m. —Melissa Chipman

Two Louisville products make Southern Living Magazine’s best food products list

Louisville Cream makes a mix of classic and unusual flavors. | Photo by Melissa Chipman

Southern Living Magazine basically ekes out its place in the media landscape by making “best of” lists. So it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that Louisville gets on those lists from time to time. This time is the “best food products” list.

Louisville Cream made the list. “With flavors like Cayenne Honey Butter; Bourbon Smoked Pecan; and our favorite, The Red Queen (goat cheese, cherry, and pistachio), it’s a wonder anyone makes a decision at the counter of Louisville Cream’s new shop,” the magazine reported. (The store in NuLu is not yet open.)

Also, Pappy and Company Maple Syrup was listed. The syrup is aged in Pappy Van Winkle bourbon barrels for six months. It seems like Pappy and Co. is quickly becoming the Vineyard Vines of the upper south. Melissa Chipman

Brown-Forman: We’re not for sale

Buzz off, Constellation Brands. Brown-Forman isn’t for sale.

The Louisville-based distiller and owner of the Jack Daniel’s brand took the unusual step Wednesday to publicly state that it wants to remain family owned.

CNBC had reported Tuesday that Victor, N.Y.-based Constellation made an offer for Brown-Forman, but was rebuffed, according to unnamed sources.

The Louisville company’s shares spiked on Monday in unusually high trading volume but gave up most of the gain on Tuesday. By mid-afternoon Thursday, shares were trading near $52, down for the week.

A Brown-Forman spokesman this week told several news outlets, including Insider, that the company does not comment on market rumors or speculation. He would not confirm whether the company had received an offer.

On Wednesday, the company released a joint statement from Chairman Geo. Garvin Brown IV and CEO Paul Varga who repeated the “no comment” policy — but also said it was “important to reiterate that Brown-Forman is not for sale.”

“For nearly 150 years, the Company and the Brown family have been committed to preserving Brown-Forman as a thriving, family controlled, independent company,” Brown and Varga said. “That commitment is unchanged, and our goal is to continue creating value for all shareholders for generations to come.”

The company on Wednesday also declared a cash dividend of 18.25 cents per share, which will be paid July 3 to shareholders of record on June 5.

Brown-Forman will release its fourth-quarter results on June 7. —Boris Ladwig