Home » Study: Bourbon creates $8.5B for state’s economy, 17,500 jobs

Study: Bourbon creates $8.5B for state’s economy, 17,500 jobs

Industry has grown by $1 billion in two years

searchLEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 7, 2017) — Kentucky’s bourbon industry increased its economic output by $1 billion and added 2,000 distillery-related jobs to its workforce during the past two years, according to a biennial study released today by the Kentucky Distillers’ Association and the University of Louisville’s Urban Studies Institute.

Kentucky bourbon now pours $8.5 billion each year into the state’s economy, generates as many as 17,500 good-paying jobs with an annual payroll topping $800 million, provides $825 million in tax revenue and is in the middle of a $1.2 billion building boom.

Highlights of the report:

  • Distilling contributes $8.5 billion to Kentucky’s economy, up $3 billion since 2008 and $1 billion in the last two years. This includes direct, indirect (spin-off) and induced impacts.
  • As many as 17,500 people owe their paychecks to the spirits industry; either directly, or because their employers are part of the industry supply chain, or due to the household spending of those people. This is up 2,000 jobs from 2014.
  • Payroll for those workers increased to more than $800 million, from $707 million in 2014.
  • New craft distilleries employ 200 people with salaries totaling more than $5.5 million.
  • Average salary for distillery employees is $95,089.
  • Distilleries are in the middle of a $1.2 billion building boom driven by the virtual repeal of the ad valorem barrel tax and new tourism reform measures.
  • Use of locally grown corn has increased by 65 percent in the last two years, aiding Kentucky’s farm families.
  • Distilling has the second highest job multiplier in the state when it comes to total number of jobs and spin-off factor, behind only light truck and utility vehicle manufacturing.
  • More than $190 million in tax revenue for local and state governments is generated by spirits production and consumption, distillers pay another $625 million in federal excise taxes.
  • At 34.4 cents per dollar of output, Kentucky taxes spirits higher than all other 536 industries in the state. Kentucky’s spirits tax rate is fifth highest in the country among open market states
  • The number of distilleries has grown to 52 — the most distilleries in Kentucky since the repeal of Prohibition.
  • Bourbon barrel inventory, now at 6.7 million, has reached its highest level since 1974.
  • If the industry continues to grow at this rate, economic output will exceed $10 billion by 2020, with employment more than 20,000, payroll over $1 billion and state tax revenue $200 million.