Kentucky Distilleries Continue Filling Bourbon Barrels At Record Pace - The Whiskey Wash

Kentucky Distilleries Continue Filling Bourbon Barrels At Record Pace

By Nino Marchetti / September 28, 2018

The Kentucky Distillers’ Association, representing the majority of major and minor bourbon distilleries in Kentucky, usually takes this time of year to let it be known how many barrels of bourbon are sitting filled and aging around the state. In 2017 it was more than 6.8 million barrels and now, for 2018, it is being reported that number has jumped to 7.5 million.

The 7.5 million barrels mentioned by the KDA is around 700,000 more than 2017, and in total represents the most in aging inventory since 1972. When one factors in the total number of barrels aging in member distilleries that also hold brandy and other spirits, this total jumps up to 8.1 million. Put another way, the iconic industry is close to having two barrels of spirits for every man, woman and child in a state with a population of around 4.4 million.

bourbon aging at Woodford Reserve (image copyright The Whiskey Wash)

Looking beyond just the pure barrel numbers, some other interesting bits of information mentioned by the KDA include:

  • The tax assessed value hit a record high – $3 billion – as did the amount of barrel taxes paid by distillers at $23 million.
  • Production in 2017 was 1,715,541 That’s only the second time since 1968 that distillers filled at least 1.7 million barrels, and it’s an increase of 129,000 barrels produced in 2016.
  • The tax-assessed value of $3 billion is the first time ever that barrels have reached that mark, and it’s an increase of $456 million over the previous year.
  • Barrel taxes had never reached the $20 million mark before, let alone $23 million. Revenue from this tax funds education, public safety and other needs in local communities where barrels are stored.

“Today’s barrel inventory numbers prove the importance of Bourbon to the fabric and future of our state,” said KDA President Eric Gregory in a prepared statement. “We look forward to working with state leaders to continue this momentum and strengthen Kentucky’s rightful place as the one, true and authentic home for Bourbon and distilled spirits.”