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July 22, 2014
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State bourbon production in 2013 at highest level since 1970

Last year 1.2 million barrels were filled; more than 5 billion aging here now

Last year 1.2 million barrels were filled

FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 22, 2014) — More than 5 million bourbon barrels are gently resting in Kentucky warehouses for the first time since 1977, as production of the signature spirit continued its remarkable resurgence in 2013.

Kentucky’s legendary bourbon distilleries filled 1.2 million barrels last year, the most since 1970. Production has skyrocketed more than 150 percent in the last 15 years, resulting in 5,294,988 aging barrels at the end of 2013.

Kentucky produces 95 percent of all the bourbon in the world.

Kentucky produces 95 percent of all the bourbon in the world.

“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 today. “It’s an incredible success story and a clear forecast that the bourbon revolution has no signs of slowing down.”

Other key facts released today:

  • Bourbon isn’t the only spirit aging in barrels. When you include brandy and other whiskeys, the state’s total barrel inventory was 5.9 million in 2013, the highest total since 1975.
  • The tax-assessed value of aging barrels this year is $1.9 billion, an increase of $81 million from 2013.
  • Since 2006, the value of barrels has nearly doubled ($1 billion to $1.9 billion).
  • Distilleries paid $15.2 million in ad valorem barrel taxes last year to the state and local communities. Ad valorem taxes have increased 52 percent since 2006.

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.

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