Kentucky's Bourbon inventory tops five million barrels - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Kentucky's Bourbon inventory tops five million barrels

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) - More than five million Bourbon barrels are resting in Kentucky warehouses for the first time since 1977.


According to a news release, Kentucky’s legendary Bourbon distilleries filled 1.2 million barrels last year. That's the most since 1970. 

Production has grown more than 150 percent in the last 15 years, resulting in 5,294,988 aging barrels at the end of 2013. 


“Our historic warehouses are brimming with plenty of Kentucky Bourbon to satisfy the growing global thirst for our mellow amber nectar,” said Eric Gregory, president of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, a non-profit trade group that released the figures Tuesday. “We’re pushing production and inventories past milestones not seen in generations,” he said. “Distillers are making landmark investments, creating new jobs, driving record numbers of tourists to the state and pouring hundreds of millions into local economies. It’s an incredible success story for our beloved Commonwealth and a clear forecast that the Bourbon revolution has no signs of slowing down.”


The last time Kentucky's Bourbon inventory reached the 5 million mark, a gallon of gas cost 62 cents, Star Wars debuted in theaters, Atari released its popular video game console, Rocky won Best Picture and the world said goodbye to Groucho Marx, Bing Crosby and Elvis.


“It is remarkable that our Bourbon inventory has reached 5 million barrels and continues to grow in order to keep up with the world’s demand for Bourbon,” Gov. Steve Beshear said. “I congratulate our distillers on this milestone and thank them once again for the economic and tourism impact the Bourbon industry has on the Commonwealth.”   


Kentucky is the only place in the world that taxes aging barrels of spirits. However, the Kentucky General Assembly enacted a monumental new law earlier this year that offers distilleries a corporate income tax credit against the amount of barrel taxes paid.


Distilleries are required to reinvest that money into their Kentucky operations, which will create more jobs, increase investment and attract more craft distilleries to the Commonwealth.


In addition to breakthrough barrel numbers, 2013 saw other notable achievements for Bourbon.


The KDA’s Kentucky Bourbon Trail and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour experiences logged more than 630,000 visits in 2013, a new record for the tours that showcase the group’s heritage and craft distilleries.


The inaugural Kentucky Bourbon Affair fantasy camp attracted thousands of aficionados from 26 states and three countries to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Congressional Resolution that designated Bourbon as America’s native spirit.


And, the KDA reached 20 members for the first time since 1947 as the ranks swelled with new distilleries, strengthening Kentucky’s rightful place as the one, true and authentic home for Bourbon and artisan spirits.

“The incredible surge in production of Bourbon and the levels of barrel inventory would be newsworthy in and of itself, but when one also looks at the growth in Kentucky Bourbon Trail visitors and the successful launch of the Kentucky Bourbon Affair, it is easy to see why Bourbon is the hottest product in the distilled spirits category,” noted Joe Fraser, Chairman of the KDA Board of Directors and Vice President of Operations for Heaven Hill “It is very gratifying to know that the renaissance of Bourbon has meant so much for economic development across many different sectors.”

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