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Yarmuth Highlights Economic Growth of Kentucky Bourbon Industry

WASHINGTON – Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3), founder of the Congressional Bourbon Caucus, praised the economic contributions of Kentucky’s bourbon industry on Monday, after a new study revealed that the signature industry is in the midst of a worldwide resurgence that is centered in the Commonwealth.

The distilled spirits industry in Kentucky – which produces 95 percent of the world’s bourbon – has expanded more during the past three years than at any time since Prohibition, according to the University of Louisville study. Bourbon contributes $1.8 billion a year to the state’s economy and employs nearly 9,000 people, directly and indirectly, with a total annual payroll of $413 million, the study revealed.

The industry has also created 4 percent new job growth since 2008.

“I’ve always been proud to support the bourbon industry, and this reaffirms the vital role that bourbon plays in our state,” Yarmuth said. “Far more than a drink of choice for those with discerning taste, bourbon is an economic driver and job-creator.”

The study focused on the bourbon industry’s broader economic impact across the Commonwealth, which is home to 19 major distilleries and numerous craft distilleries. Kentucky distilleries export bourbon to 126 countries, and there are more barrels of bourbon aging in Kentucky (4.7 million) right now than residents (4.3 million).

The bourbon industry’s renaissance has also led to a surge in Kentucky tourism. The Kentucky Bourbon Trail program, which offers tours of some of the Commonwealth’s most scenic and iconic distilleries, has become one of the state’s top tourism destinations. Since August 2007, more than 25,000 people have completed the tour, resulting in a total economic impact of $18.4 million. More than 80 percent of Bourbon Trail visitors came from out of state.

Read the full study here.

About the Congressional Bourbon Caucus

Yarmuth formed the Congressional Bourbon Caucus in 2009. The bipartisan group is dedicated to maintaining and strengthening the bourbon industry in the United States and educating other Members on the legislative and regulatory issues affecting the industry.

According to federal statute, bourbon is recognized as a “distinctive product of the United States” and is required to be aged in new, charred oak barrels for a minimum of two years.