Kentucky bourbon’s impact on state economy, study findings

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The study outlines how the signature spirit pours billions of dollars into Kentucky’s economy and provides more jobs and revenue than ever before.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky’s signature spirit is pouring billions into the state’s economy and creating thousands of new jobs every year. 

The Kentucky Distillers’ Association (KDA) said their recent study found that the bourbon industry pours in $9 billion every year and created more than 22,500 jobs last year.

Governor Andy Beshear and other local leaders were joined by officials from the KDA to announce the study’s findings during a Wednesday briefing.

“Distilleries, jobs, wages, revenue and investment are up triple digits across the board in the last 12 years,” Beshear said. “In turn, this amber wave has spurred more corn production, barrel cooperages, and other supply-side manufacturers that are sustaining families and adding vibrancy to local communities.” 

The KDA said that distilling contributes more than $285 million in local and state tax revenue. 

They also said the industry is in the middle of a $5.2 billion capital investment spree which will create more good-paying jobs for communities across the state.

But KDA President Eric Gregory said, “we can’t let success or complacency curtail this strong momentum.”

“We have more jobs and distilleries than ever before,” he said. “But we also have more competition from all 50 states.”

The KDA’s latest study said that more than 2,200 distilleries have opened across the U.S. as the industry booms here in the Bluegrass. 

Kentucky’s share of distilleries nationwide and good-paying jobs shrunk as a result. 

The KDA said ten states have more licensed distillery operations than Kentucky.

Gregory said it’s important that distillers, partners and government officials work together to continue the growth and attract more distillers and investments to Kentucky.

“Make no mistake,” he said. “The only place to experience the authenticity of Bourbon is right here in Kentucky and we must maintain our distilling dominance.”  

To read the full report online, click here.

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