After three years of new operations, Lawrenceburg Distillers Indiana LLC can raise a toast to recent success.

Lawrenceburg Distillers is located on a 78-acre property near the Indiana-Kentucky border. The historic distillery was built in 1847 as the Rossville Distillery, and is strategically located in the Midwest Corn Belt.

"For a distributor, it’s a big deal," says General Manager Rick Brock. The location allows for easy access to Kentucky’s coal, as well as Indiana’s corn and water, which is essential for a plant that goes through 7 million gallons a day.

The current distillery operation was started in 2007 by LDI’s parent company, CL Financial World Brands Ltd. out of Trinidad and Tobago. The company restructured the facility, starting with about 150 employees and growing to its recent 185. The restructure wasn’t without its challenges.

"We had to reorganize the union agreements to try to get more flexibility and gain the ability to be more competitive, and we established new work rules," Brock explains. "We went from being just a manufacturing operation to being a standalone business. Moving a lot of manufacturing workers to doing profit and loss statements isn’t always easy."

The company also had to shift away from its original business plan, which was to produce and store Bourbons in the warehouses to mature for later sale or use, but this can tie up cash for up to five years. Since the recession began, LDI has moved the focus from brand development to manufacturing and packaging, which have quicker turnovers. Other changes have saved LDI from economic trouble.

"Controlling costs is a big deal since the recession hit," Brock adds. "We only spend money on necessities. We might have bought new packaging equipment in other years that wasn’t necessary, but now we just get what we know we need."

This adaptability proved crucial to the company’s success.

LDI currently produces 27.5 million proof gallons of bulk whiskeys, gin and grain neutral spirits and 4.3 million cases of packaged spirits annually. The company also uses quality grains sourced and managed by its own grain elevator in Rushville, Ind.

The diverse line of products is positioned to do well in the new economy. "Typically, the value-priced brands have done well in downturn economies. A lot of business has moved from bars to liquor stores, where sales have increased. Some brands we supply took a hit, but we held our own because we have a variety of types," Brock says.

LDI has also experienced success by letting their name spread through customers by word of mouth. This has secured big name companies such as Wilson Daniels, Proximo Spirits, Diageo, Pernod Ricard USA and Castel Brands as customers. While bringing on new customers is a constant goal, the company works to expand their services for existing ones as well.

Brock also tries to ensure the best services possible by keeping close to his employees. "We believe strongly in communicating with our employees," he says. "We meet to go over financial statements, see what’s working for them, and try to keep them educated so they can make good decisions on the job."

As long as they keep up the good work, LDI can continue growing, and most importantly, making the world a cheerier place — one case and barrel at a time. ■