Louisville celebrates growth of industry on National Bourbon Day - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville celebrates growth of industry on National Bourbon Day

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- National Bourbon Day is being celebrated across the country, but perhaps not more so than in Louisville.

“We feel that all the time in the heart of bourbon country,” said Stacey Yates with the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Every day is bourbon day, right?”

It’s no longer a secret: Bourbon in Kentucky, and Louisville specifically, is booming.

“The growth in the bourbon industry, particularly in the tourism aspect, it's buzzing,” Yates said.

According to Louisville Forward, the economic development agency, bourbon distillers provide 4,200 jobs, $263 million in payroll and $32 million in tax revenue each year for the city.

Some still wonder how long the industry can sustain this level of success before the bourbon bubble bursts.

Artisan Evan Williams distiller Charlie Downs has worked for the company for 40 years and thinks the industry can continue on its current trajectory.

“If we had seen 40 years ago or 20 years ago the resurgence of bourbon whiskey, then we'd all be millionaires right now,” Downs said.

The Evan Williams Experience on Main Street in downtown Louisville is one of the locations where tourists can learn more about the history of bourbon and how it’s made.

“We cross promote each other,” said Jeff Crowe with Heaven Hill Distillery. “We learn about each other's products. People learn that there is a different in the story.”

The hope is by 2018, there will be five more distilleries open for touring in Louisville. Old Forester still plans to open its facility on Whiskey Row. Just a few blocks away near Louisville Slugger Field, Angel’s Envy plans to open a location. In NuLu, Rabbit Hole is planning a distillery attraction.

“We have enough infrastructure now that you could not possibly experience everything bourbon country in one long three-day weekend,” Yates said. 

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