Filled Bourbon Barrels Sprouting Like Weeds in Kentucky

The month of September is Bourbon Heritage Month. It is a time when the bourbon industry and its legions of fans take time to celebrate the quintessential American spirit. As part of this taking stock, one key way to measure the health of things is in the number of barrels currently holding aging whiskey across the land. Figures recently shared by the Kentucky Distillers’ Association (KDA) suggest that number is quite large.

It is said by the KDA that its member warehouses (this does not include Buffalo Trace) now hold more than 6.8 million barrels of aging bourbon, the highest inventory in 44 years. That’s a significant increase from 2015, when over 5.6 million barrels were counted.

As with any announcement like this, there are also several other interesting data points to share. They include:

  • With 1.5 barrels for every person living in the Bluegrass state, the state’s signature industry today provides Kentuckians with as many as 17,500 jobs and over $800 million in payroll, while generating more than $825 million in local, state and federal tax revenue.
  • The growth has had a tremendous impact on the state’s agriculture industry as well, with distillers’ local corn purchases up 65 percent over the last two years.
  • The Kentucky Bourbon Trail adventure grew to 10 participating distilleries, while the Craft Tour expanded to 13 locations across the Commonwealth.
  • Kentucky produces 95 percent of the world’s supply of bourbon.

“The remarkable growth of Kentucky’s signature spirit has had an extraordinary ripple effect for adjacent industries,” KDA President Eric Gregory said in a prepared statement. “With $1.2 billion dollars in capital projects just finished or underway, the industry is utilizing local farmers, researchers, manufacturers, architects, builders, engineers and laborers. Kentucky Bourbon is clearly the new fuel for the Bluegrass economy.”

About the author

Nino Marchetti

As the founder of The Whiskey Wash, I'm crazy about whiskey, I can tell you, and I aim to share this passion with you through this site. As for my professional background, I’m a writer and journalist by trade and an Internet dot-com veteran prior to that. My most recent venture prior to this was as the founder and editor-in-chief of EarthTechling, a leading consumer focused green technology news website. I also have an extensive collection of whiskies from both start up distilleries and centuries old operations in Scotland alike, sprinkled with some other odds and ends from around the world, that have provided me with a unique picture of what’s going on with this wonderful spirit.