Jeff Davis School Board approves tax exemption for Bayou Rum Distillery

Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 9:32 PM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Bayou Rum Distillery will now pay 80 percent less in property taxes after a one-year extension was officially approved by Jeff Davis School Board Thursday evening.

It’s known as an Industrial Tax Exemption or ITEP. It’s part of a state incentive program, offering a tax “relief” for businesses who make a commitment to providing jobs and payroll.

“Bayou Rum had a tax exemption for several years through the state and the governing bodies,” president of the school board, Paul Trahan said. “They fell a little short in 2021, so they have asked for a one-year extension.”

The distillery under parent company, Louisiana Spirits, was approved for the exemption in 2019 and 2020, but it lost the exemption for 2021 due to difficulty hiring employees at the height of the pandemic, according to director of manufacturing Angelo Torre.

He tells 7News the company has since doubled its production, payroll and number of employees.

Payroll alone went from approximately $900,000 in 2021, and is currently at $1.8 million for this year.

The 28-acre facility generates roughly $4,000 in property taxes annually, Torre said.

“They truly met and exceeded their fulfillment of what they’re supposed to do,” Trahan said.

The exemption will also need a final vote from the police jury.