Gov. Beshear highlights Kentucky’s bourbon industry for National Bourbon Heritage Month

On Tuesday, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear highlighted the state’s signature bourbon industry...
On Tuesday, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear highlighted the state’s signature bourbon industry as the commonwealth celebrates National Bourbon Heritage Month this September.(WAVE 3 News)
Published: Sep. 5, 2023 at 7:28 PM CDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (KFVS) - On Tuesday, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear highlighted the state’s signature bourbon industry as the commonwealth celebrates National Bourbon Heritage Month this September.

According to a release from the governor’s office, the $9 billion bourbon industry helps fuel Kentucky’s economy, generating more than 22,500 jobs with an annual payroll topping $1.23 billion. Additionally, the production and consumption of the state’s bourbon provides more than $268 million in annual tax revenue for state and local governments.

In 2022, Kentucky recorded its best year for growth in the bourbon and spirits industry.

“Kentucky continues to set itself apart with our signature bourbon and spirits industry,” Gov. Beshear said. “The momentum we’ve experienced over the last two years has been incredible, and the demand around the world for Kentucky bourbon keeps growing.”

The release states Kentucky is the birthplace of bourbon, crafting 95 percent of the world’s supply. The Bluegrass State houses nearly 12 million barrels, which represents two-and-a-half barrels of bourbon for every person living in the state––the most in the modern era of American whiskey.

The Kentucky Distillers’ Association (KDA) reported the Kentucky Bourbon Trail (KBT) and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour experiences are busier than ever, with total attendance exceeding 2.1 million in 2022––a new record. There are now 42 Kentucky Bourbon Trail distillery destinations across the state and more than 70 percent of KBT visitors travel from out of state.

Last year, there were more than $2.1 billion in new investments and approximately 700 new jobs created for Kentucky residents. This indicates 2022 was the best year for growth in state history for the bourbon and spirits industry.

The state also sees investment in the ecosystem around bourbon production in the commonwealth, which includes cooperages, bottle makers, packaging and distribution, as well as agriculture and tourism.

According to the release, the commonwealth’s bourbon industry heavily depends on local farmers, using more than 13.5 million bushels of locally grown corn per year. Around 75 percent of corn used by KDA distillers in 2020 came from Kentucky farmers.

Click here for more information on the Kentucky bourbon industry.