- Associated Press - Friday, April 4, 2014
Fruit of the Loom closing Jamestown plant

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - More than 600 workers will lose their jobs under Fruit of the Loom’s plans to close its plant in Jamestown.

The company said it was moving the plant’s textile operations to Honduras to save money. The company plans to close the plant in phases from June 8 through Dec. 31.

“It is very unexpected for me and, from what I’m hearing, for everyone in the community,” said Sen. Sara Beth Gregory, whose district includes Jamestown. “I think everyone is reeling from the news.”

In a news release, the company said its decision was “to align its global supply chain to allow the company to leverage existing investments and meet customer requirements more timely and cost effectively.”

“This decision is in no way a reflection on the dedication and efforts of the employees in our Jamestown facility, but is a result of a competitive global business environment,” Tony Pelaski, the company’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, said in a news release.

The plant has 601 workers, the company said.

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Ky. Lawmakers vote to offer bourbon tax credit

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky has more barrels of bourbon than it does people - and soon those barrels could be aging tax free.

State lawmakers have voted to effectively eliminate a tax on aging barrels of distilled spirits in a nod to one of the state’s signature industries that is quickly becoming a tourist attraction.

For years, Kentucky distillers have had to pay a tax every year for every barrel of bourbon it has aging in a warehouse - the only such tax in the country.

Kentucky still manufactures 95 percent of the world’s bourbon because it is home to major corporations that make bourbon in bulk. But smaller, craft distilleries have been opening in other states to avoid Kentucky’s bourbon tax, according to Eric Gregory, president of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association.

“There are more distillers in downtown Portland than there are in Kentucky right now,” Gregory said. “Who is to say one of these startup distillers in a few years won’t be the next Makers Mark or Woodford Reserve?”

Kentucky distillers have increased their inventories of aging bourbon to more than 6.9 million barrels in 2013 from 5.8 million barrels in 1999. Kentucky tax collections have more than doubled during that time, to $13.8 million from $6.3 million.

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