Welcome to the Labor Day 2016 edition of Monday Business Briefing, your private business intelligence digest from Insider Louisville.

Construction at Louisville International Airport on schedule; job fair planned

A sign at the Louisville International Airport welcomes travelers. | Courtesy of Ken Lund

By the end of 2016, people flying in and out of Louisville International Airport won’t see any construction. They’ll just see bourbon, bats and Kentucky Derby-related stores, restaurants and art.

“The overall idea or theme behind this project has really been to give the airport a strong sense of Louisville,” said Natalie Chaudoin, public relations director for the Louisville Airport Authority. “We want to give people a really strong sense of place.”

Since January, the inside of the airport has been a construction zone amid a roughly $17.5 million renovation. The Louisville Airport Authority is investing $9.5 million to remodel the airport, including replacing escalators, as well as repainting and improving airport connectors. The authority’s work is on schedule to be completed in late fall.

Maryland-based restaurant company HMSHost and its Florida-based subtenant partner Tinsley Family Concessions also are investing another $8 million to upgrade the retail shops and restaurants. The changes, which will wrap up before the end of the year, include a previously unannounced “Today” show-branded store.

Throughout the construction process, Chaudoin said the airport authority has not heard any major complaints from fliers and wait times have remained minimal compared with other airports in the United States.

“We are still functioning and fully operational,” she said. “We feel like we’ve done a really great job keeping people informed.”

As much as once a week, the airport authority issued new information about the construction and how it will impact travelers. For example, from now through November, two of the four escalators connecting the upper departure level to the lower arrival level will close for retrofitting, according to the most recent update.

In instances in which security checkpoints have moved, the airport authority has placed signs around the airport directing customers to the proper areas.

As a result of some of the changes, more than 15 companies within the airport are looking to hire new full-time and part-time employees. Open positions include administrative jobs, aircraft mechanics, airline agents, baggage handlers, baristas, bartenders, cashiers, cooks, customer service, custodians, dispatchers, drivers, flight attendants, janitors, management, pilots, ramp agents, rental sales, security, servers and vehicle mechanics. So, pretty much all the jobs.

The airport authority is hosting a job fair from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sept. 14 at the Hilton Garden Inn Louisville Airport, 2735 Crittenden Drive. Admission and parking are free. Attendees should be prepared for on-site interviews. —Caitlin Bowling

‘Stone Cold Sober’ Bellarmine University makes good grades in The Princeton Review

Bellarmine University
Bellarmine University

Bellarmine University was named to The Princeton Review’s 2017 “381 Best Colleges” list. That means the school is in the top 15 percent of the nation’s four-year colleges and universities.

Along with praise for the school’s academics and school spirit, Princeton Review also ranked the school 18th on it’s “Stone Cold Sober Schools” list, a list topped by Brigham Young University, a Mormon-run school.

The school also, impressively, was ranked 14th in “Most Active Student Government.” That rank was determined by polling students. One student said, the school has “a niche, club or activity for everyone,” and “encourages and supports any club a student would like to create.” There are over 90 clubs and activities on campus, according to Bellarmine’s website.

Students attending Bellarmine have an average 3.5 GPA, but it accepts 84 percent of applicants. Upending stereotypes in college athletics, one student said, “Most all the athletes are also amazing students.”

Alumni are more likely to contribute and stay in touch than at average schools.

Centre College in Danville, Ky. also made the list. —Melissa Chipman

Papa John’s releases Apple TV app

Now available via Apple TV | Courtesy of Papa John's
Papa John’s is now available via Apple TV | Courtesy of Papa John’s

Louisville-based Papa John’s International has a new option for customers to order and pay for its pizza. Papa John’s says it is the first major restaurant brand to introduce an Apple TV app, according to a news release.

The new app allows customers to build-their-own pizza or save and reorder past purchases. Consumers who use the Apple TV app will automatically receive a 25 percent discount on their purchase, the release states.

“Pizza and entertainment are a natural fit,” John Schnatter, founder, chairman and CEO of Papa John’s, said in the release. “With the launch of our Apple TV app, we’re hoping to make family movie night and friend gatherings around the TV even more enjoyable by delivering the same quality product and experience our customers expect in a convenient and interactive way.”

Papa John’s has been a leader in terms of introducing technology to better the customer experience. In 2001, it introduced digital ordering online; in 2007, the company allowed customers to order via text message; and in 2010, it premiered an online customer rewards program. —Caitlin Bowling

Aloft hotel downtown receives LEED certification

The exterior of Corner bar and eatery | Courtesy of Starwood/White Lodging
The exterior of Corner bar and eatery | Courtesy of Starwood/White Lodging

Louisville has several LEED-certified buildings, but the 175-room Aloft hotel downtown recently became the first hotel to received that designation, according to the U.S. Green Building Council database.

“The hotel is a business, but it’s also very much a part of the fabric of the community,” Brandt Tiffany, general manager of the Aloft Louisville Downtown, said in a news release.  “Being a part of the community, we care deeply about the impact a new build hotel can have on the environment, and we’re so thankful to our owners for making it a priority that the hotel is LEED Certified.”

The Aloft achieved its LEED certification through sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality, the release states. The hotel scored 44 out of a possible 100 points.

The hotel used regional materials and recyclables during construction, instituted systems to reduce water and energy usage, and is accessible by alternative transportation such as bus or bicycle.

“The work of innovative building projects such as the Aloft Louisville Downtown is a fundamental driving force in the green building movement,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair of the U.S. Green Building Council, which awards LEED certifications.

Poe Companies, REI Development and White Lodge own the Aloft downtown. White Lodging Services Corp. manages the hotel.

The 30-story Omni Hotel downtown also is expected to be a LEED-certified hotel when it opens in 2018. —Caitlin Bowling

Guy Fieri’s Louisville smokehouse opening this weekend

A sample of some of the dishes that Guy Fieri's Smokehouse will serve. | Photo by Caitlin Bowling
A sample of some of the dishes that Guy Fieri’s Smokehouse will serve. | Photo by Caitlin Bowling

On Saturday, Sept. 10, Louisvillians will find out if Guy Fieri is more than a television personality.

The “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” star known for his big personality and frosted tips is opening a restaurant called Guy Fieri’s Smokehouse, the first of its name, at Fourth Street Live. The smokehouse will open to the public at 9 p.m. Sept. 10.

The 6,700-square-foot, $1.5 million restaurant will seat 117 inside and 79 outside. It will feature a custom-made meat smoker on the patio, an indoor/outdoor bar, patent leather bar seats, giant metal fans overhead and an open kitchen.

The menu will include dishes such as applewood-smoked and harissa-spiced lamb with pomegranate juice, trashcan nachos, an 18-ounce ribeye, pickle-brined fried chicken, a vegan dish with roasted Brussels sprouts, smoked sweet potatoes, pickled radish and red wine vinaigrette, and scratch-made burgers such as the Brick Burger, a mix between a burger and Cuban sandwich.

An interesting menu and Guy Fieri’s name may be enough to get locals to stop by Fourth Street Live for a taste, and perhaps, it will generate  better reviews than the Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar in Times Square, which was famously skewered by The New York Times food critic Pete Wells, who has won five James Beard awards.

Notably, when Fieri was in town to announce his new restaurant, he told IL that he hadn’t heard about the viral review, but said that it sounded as if someone was trying to make a name for himself by badmouthing the television show host’s restaurant. —Caitlin Bowling

Huber’s and Copper & Kings in the running for ‘Favorite Craft Specialty Spirits Distillery’

Huber's Distillery is in the running.
Huber’s Distillery is in the running.

From a list of 20 of the nation’s top craft distilleries, two Louisville-area companies and one regional are in the running for USA Today’s “Favorite Craft Specialty Spirits Distillery” contest, which asks readers to help whittle down the list to 10 by voting.

Both Copper & Kings American Brandy and Huber’s Starlight Distillery are included, as is Corsair Distillery out of Bowling Green, Ky. A panel of spirits experts chose the top 20 from around the country, and now voting is open through Monday, Sept. 12, at noon. You’re allowed to vote once per day.

According to the contest’s description, the distilleries were selected for their high-quality products that often use locally sourced ingredients:

“Liqueur, brandy, absinthe, aquavit and amaro — these specialty spirits have found their way into the American craft distilling scene in a big way … Many of these distilleries work in small batches using locally sourced fruits, grains and botanicals. Many are family-owned. Many painstakingly distill their spirits using a blend of traditional and modern techniques. All take pride in crafting unique spirits that would complement any bar collection.”

Between Copper & Kings’ innovative work with brandy and absinthe, and Huber’s new bourbons, rums and whiskeys, it’s a toss-up between the two. And indeed, as of Friday, Huber’s was sitting at the No. 2 spot, while C&K was not far behind at No. 5. —Sara Havens 

Louisville Grows hosting garden-to-table meal

The event will benefit Louisville Grows. | Courtesy of Louisville Grows
The event will benefit Louisville Grows. | Courtesy of Louisville Grows

The nonprofit Louisville Grows, which promotes and manages community gardens in West Louisville, has recruited chefs Ryan Smith and Tim Zozula of Harvest restaurant in NuLu to create a special meal at the 5-acre People’s Garden in the Shawnee neighborhood.

The menu will include Woodland Farm bison short ribs in fig and wine sauce, polenta with mushroom sauce, panzanella salad, and pawpaw ice cream from Kentucky State University.

Garden members also will give tours of the People’s Garden, 536 N. 44th St., and local musicians Jeri Katherine and Nat Colten will provide entertainment.

The event is from 6 to 9 p.m. on Sept. 15. The cost is $25 for community garden plot holders, $40 for Louisville Grows members, and $55 for general admission. A table for eight may be reserved for $320.

Parking for the event is available at the Shawnee Golf Course. —Caitlin Bowling

National Bourbon Heritage Month brings two more releases

Four Roses
Four Roses

Happy National Bourbon Heritage Month! To help celebrate the occasion, two more limited-edition bourbons are being released, and both sound promising and delicious.

First up is Four Roses‘ annual Limited Edition Small Batch, which comes out every fall. Master Distiller Brent Elliott had the tough job of selecting three of the distillery’s 10 unique bourbon recipes that would mingle well and create a one-of-a-kind product. He chose two 12-year-old batches (OESO and OBSV) and one 16-year-old batch (OESK) to create the recipe. It’s the first time in seven years the Limited Edition Small Batch has included the OESO recipe. (To learn more about what these abbreviations mean, you should plan a trip to the Lawrenceburg distillery.)

“When I tasted the sample from that OESO barrel, I knew I wanted it to anchor this Limited Edition Bourbon,” said Elliott in a press release. “We were able to highlight its exceptional fruitiness and balance it out with more age and spice from the two other recipes.”

The bourbon was bottled at barrel strength with a proof of 111.2. Only 9,258 hand-numbered bottles will be released, so if you see one on the shelf at your favorite liquor store, snatch it up. We sampled it last week and can attest to its remarkably balanced flavors of rich fruit, spicy rye and sweet molasses. While the finish is quite strong for being so high in proof, the taste that remains is incredible.

Heaven Hill
Heaven Hill

Next up is Heaven Hill‘s 2016 Parker’s Heritage Collection, a 24-year-old Bottled-in-Bond bourbon that helps raise money for ALS research and patient care. This is the 10th edition of the annual, ultra-premium release (read: good luck finding it), and it is believed to be the oldest Bottled-in-Bond product on the market, according to the press release.

Master Distiller Emeritus Parker Beam, for whom the series is named, was diagnosed with ALS (also called Lou Gehrig’s disease) several years ago. The past three editions have raised more than half a million dollars for the cause.

“We are proud to again offer a unique bourbon style for the Parker’s Heritage Collection, one that is a nod to Heaven Hill’s expertise with Bottled-in-Bond products,” said Susan Wahl, American Whiskey Group Portfolio Manager at Heaven Hill, in a press release. “As the oldest Bottled-in-Bond bourbon in the world, we anticipate this to be another highly sought after addition to whiskey fanatics’ collections and, as important to us, it will enable a significant contribution to ALS research and patient care efforts.”

It retails for $249.99. —Sara Havens


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