Bourbon production hits 48-year high in KY

23rd May, 2016 by Amy Hopkins

Bourbon production in Kentucky hit a 48-year high in 2015, when 1.88 million barrels of the spirit were produced, figures released by the Kentucky Distillers’ Association show.

Kentucky Bourbon Barrels

Kentucky continues to witness a boom in Bourbon production

The KDA reports that Bourbon production has skyrocketed more than 315% since the turn of the century, with 455,078 barrels filled in 1999. The previous all-time high for Bourbon production was in 1967, when 1.92m barrels were filled.

Kentucky now has a total inventory of 6.65m barrels of Bourbon ageing in its warehouses, the most since 1974. Distillers also are paying US$17.81m in ad valorem barrel taxes this year – another all-time high.

“This is astounding, phenomenal, mammoth,” said KDA president Eric Gregory. “We’re running out of adjectives to describe the growth and success of Kentucky Bourbon. Plus, filling nearly 2 million barrels in one year should remove any doubts about the future of our signature industry.”

In 2015, distillers filled 44% more barrels than in 2014, the biggest difference in year-to-year production since 1967.

Bourbon production in Kentucky is a US$3bn industry that generates more than 15,400 jobs with an annual payroll topping US$700m and generates US$166m in local and state taxes.

“This truly is the golden age of Kentucky Bourbon,” added Gregory. “We’re fillings more barrels, creating more good-paying jobs, generating more tax revenue and attracting more tourists than ever before. The entire Commonwealth, and especially our local distilling communities, is realising the benefits of the growing global thirst for Bourbon.”

Kentucky is currently witnessing US$1.3bn worth of investment in building or expanding Bourbon distilleries – which the KDA claims is set to rise following the passage of numerous legislative measures.

The passage of Senate Bill 11, the Kentucky Bourbon Tourism Reform measure, and the ongoing phase-in of the KDA’s Barrel Tax Reinvestment Credit provide incentives to grow Bourbon production in the state.

“Now more than ever, we need to protect Kentucky Bourbon,” Gregory continued.

“Each year we face threats to Bourbon’s growth in the Commonwealth, and we are grateful that our key policymakers recognise the vital role this homegrown industry plays in jobs, state revenue and tourism.”

Just last week, Frankfort KY-based Buffalo Trace Distillery revealed plans to invest US$200m expanding its operations to meet soaring demand.

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