Home » Repealing prohibition: How Kentucky’s decision 80 years ago has changed the commonwealth’s economy

Repealing prohibition: How Kentucky’s decision 80 years ago has changed the commonwealth’s economy

(Barton 1792 photo)
(Barton 1792 photo)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nov. 27, 2013) – On Nov. 27, 1933, Kentucky approved ratification of the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ultimately repealing the 18th Amendment and ending Prohibition. Today, the state’s wine and spirits industry supports a multi-million dollar economy, employs thousands of workers, and provides millions of dollars in tax revenue to the state and federal governments.

To mark the anniversary, the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) released a detailed report that demonstrates the industry’s impact in Kentucky.

Today, the wine and spirits industry supports 11,510 direct jobs in Kentucky, which includes more than 570 workers at wholesaler firms. The total economic impact of the industry in the state is $6.8 billion, according to an economic analysis released by WSWA and prepared by New York-based John Dunham & Associates.

Beyond wages and economic impact, the modern wine and spirits industry in Kentucky generates a total of $2.6 billion in state business and consumer taxes.

“The 21st Amendment paved the way for the creation of the modern three-tier beverage alcohol regulatory system that today delivers the widest variety of products available to consumers anywhere in the world in a manner that is safe, well-regulated, and ensures reliable revenue streams for the states and federal government,” WSWA President and CEO Craig Wolf said.

Wolf pointed out that even today in Europe, Asia and Latin America, consumers regularly suffer because of unsafe, adulterated or counterfeit beverage alcohol. He said these issues are non-existent in the United States largely because of the regulatory framework enacted by the states and federal government under the 21st Amendment.

WSWA is the national trade association representing the wholesale tier of the wine and spirits industry. It is dedicated to advancing the interests and independence of wholesale distributors and brokers of wine and spirits. Founded in 1943, WSWA has over 350 member companies in 50 states and the District of Columbia, and its members distribute more than 70 percent of all wines and spirits sold at wholesale in the United States. More information is available at wswa.org.