BUTTE – John and Courtney McKee, owners of Headframe Spirits, have plans to break ground in May of 2015 on a third facility in Butte, making Headframe the largest distillery west of the Mississippi.

“For phase three, the expanded distillery is the largest direct economic impact that John and I can have on our community as business owners,” Courtney said. “It’s the best we can do for creating jobs that will stay here in Butte.”

Since last summer, the McKees – who were named the “2013 Montana Entrepreneurs of the Year,” by Gov. Steve Bullock – have been working with Butte Silver Bow Community Development, the Community Development Block Program, and SMA Architects on a year-long project to evaluate potential sites in Butte.

The Kelley Mine Yard – a former industrial site – was chosen as Headframe’s new facility, suitable for producing a barrel of whiskey every seven minutes.

With preliminary engineering and architectural work complete, the company intends to redevelop 20 acres of the space with the capacity to rival that of large distilleries in Kentucky and Indiana.

All attempts will be made to maintain the history of the site, with production and restaurant space located in the historic hoist house. Barrel storage, packaging, shipping and receiving will be located in the 54,000-square-foot Kelley garage building.

This project incorporates Headframe Spirits’ proprietary continuous flow distillation technology to produce beverage alcohol both for the distillery’s own brands, as well as for bulk sale to the beverage alcohol industry.

The McKees also hope the site will act as an eastern anchor to historic uptown Butte, with a strong emphasis on tourism, outdoor event space and economic development. Overnight bungalows and a restaurant were incorporated into the master plan in order to promote a fully integrated experience for the visitor.

“We want this project to bring people to Butte, to experience Butte and to see what Butte has to offer,” Courtney said.

Headframe Spirits anticipates the project will create approximately 50 new long-term jobs through this venture.

Visit headframespirits.com for more information on the distillery.