Recognizing the Commonwealth’s centuries-old distilling industry, its deep agricultural roots and growing economic and tourism impact, the Kentucky Govenor proclaimed September as Bourbon Heritage Month in Kentucky.
The proclamation, available here, highlights the state’s $9 billion Bourbon and distilling industry, how it drives and elevates tourism across the Commonwealth and sustains more than 22,500 jobs with an annual payroll topping $1.23 billion.
It cites Kentucky Bourbon as a chief part of the Commonwealth’s agricultural, agritech and agritourism industries, with distillers purchasing more than 13.5 million bushels of corn and other grains yearly from local farm families – a number that continues to grow.
With 100 licensed distilleries across 40 of the Commonwealth’s 120 counties, Kentucky’s distilling industry continues to add jobs, locations and economic and tourism impact for local communities.
The industry is in the middle of a $5.2 billion, 10-year building boom. Those projects include investments in production capacity, warehousing and bottling, and tourism-related amenities such as dining, entertainment and lodging facilities.
Since the turn of the century, Bourbon production has skyrocketed more than 475%. Kentucky now boasts more than 11.4 million barrels of Bourbon aging in warehouses across the Bluegrass, the greatest amount ever in its distilling history.
Distillers filled more than 2.6 million barrels in 2021 alone, up from 2.4 million the prior year and the fourth consecutive year that production topped 2 million.
Bourbon tourism continues to break records, as well.
Kentucky Bourbon Trail tourists made a record 2.1 million distillery visits last year, the first time the KBT experiences eclipsed two million in total attendance. In the last 10 years, the amber adventure has skyrocketed by 370% in attendance.