Kentucky Bourbon stocks reach 44-year high
More than 6.8 million barrels of Bourbon are maturing in Kentucky, equivalent to 1.5 barrels for every person living in the state, according to the Kentucky Distillers’ Association.
Now an US$8.5 billion industry, the KDA says the Bourbon boom has had a “tremendous” impact on the Kentucky’s agriculture industry; distillers’ local corn purchases have increased by 65% in the past two years.
With US$1.2 billion dollars in capital projects just finished or underway, the state’s distilling and warehousing equipment manufacturers are also racing to keep up with the rate of expansion.
“The remarkable growth of Kentucky’s signature spirit has had an extraordinary ripple effect for adjacent industries,” KDA president Eric Gregory said.
“The industry is utilising local farmers, researchers, manufacturers, architects, builders, engineers and labourers. Kentucky Bourbon is clearly the new fuel for the Bluegrass economy.”
The Kentucky Bourbon Trail and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour distilleries reported that visitor numbers passed the one million mark in 2016.
The KDA expects this milestone to be surpassed this year thanks to “landmark” tourism reforms under Senate Bill 11, which allow for many Bourbon Trail experiences to include by-the-drink sales and cocktail programmes.
“Thanks to this new legislation, our members are investing money and energy to make each visitor’s experience unique and memorable,” added Gregory. “Now guests can relax, sip a cocktail and enjoy genuine Kentucky Bourbon hospitality as part of their tour.”
Ahead of Kentucky Bourbon Festival this week, Kentucky governor Matt Bevin praised the industry for its contribution to the state’s economy.
“Kentucky’s historic Bourbon industry is currently enjoying tremendous growth,” said Bevin. “The love of Bourbon is quickly becoming a global phenomenon. This homegrown success story is a testament to our proud tradition of engineering and manufacturing excellence.
“Our administration strives every day to create a more business friendly environment in the Commonwealth, and we expect that Kentucky’s best days of economic growth are yet to come.”