Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and executives from Wilde Brands Inc., a producer of high-protein, keto diet-friendly snack chips made from all-natural chicken breast, recently announced plans for a $9.78 million, 50-job production and distribution facility in Clark County, Ky.
To create a healthier alternative to potato chips, Wilde Brands developed a proprietary production process using custom-engineered manufacturing equipment to produce the first mass-market animal protein chips. The current flavor lineup of Wilde Brands' chicken chips includes Buffalo, Nashville Hot, Chicken & Waffles, Himalayan Pink Salt, Sea Salt & Vinegar and Jalapeño.
“In Kentucky, we are focused on rebuilding our economy and positioning it to create stronger, more prosperous communities. Wilde Brands – as the latest rapidly growing addition to the commonwealth’s expansive food and beverage industry – represents a welcome part of that effort,” Beshear said. “In addition to creating meaningful employment in central Kentucky, Wilde Brands will help ensure we continue to diversify and innovate within the industry. I’d like to thank Jason Wright, Wilde Brands’ [chief executive officer], and his team for selecting Kentucky and achieving their timeline, despite the challenges posed by COVID-19. I look forward to the growth and success of their Kentucky facility.”
Wilde Brands, which was founded in 2017 in Boulder, Colo., will operate in an existing 50,000 sq. ft. facility on Tierney Way in Winchester, Ky. The new location will allow the company to increase production volume, expand U.S. sales and meet growing customer demand. Renovations are ongoing, and the plant is scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Wright noted that the new location also provides an opportunity for additional research and development to expand Wilde Brands’ product range, starting with a first-to-market pork chip. That new line is scheduled to launch on the company’s website in December and should hit store shelves by January 2021.
To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in July preliminarily approved a 10-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $509,000 in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of $9.78 million and annual targets of creating and maintaining 50 full-time jobs for Kentucky residents across 10 years and paying an average hourly wage of $20, including benefits, across those jobs.
By meeting its annual targets over the agreement term, the company can be eligible to keep a portion of the new tax revenue it generates. Wilde Brands may claim eligible incentives against its income tax liability and/or wage assessments.