Bourbon Boom Fuels Kentucky’s Economic Expansion – Bourbon Dispatches No. 9

Yes, Bourbon is so much more than good drinkin'. It is also boosting Kentucky’s Bourbon industry to new heights. In the last two years, Bourbon has added $1 billion in revenues and 2,000 distillery-related jobs into Kentucky.

Each year, the only native American spirit generates $8.5 billion for the state’s economy. But that's not all, it creates 17,500+ jobs paying more than $800 million. And for the politicos, Bourbon puts $825 million in Kentucky's coiffeurs via tax revenues. Plus, the distillers are adding $1.2 billion in distillery and tourism expansion.

So yeah, the Gov Matt Bevin is pretty happy about the study by the University of Louisville’s Urban Studies Institute and the Kentucky Distillers’ Association.

Hittin' the KY Bourbon Trail

“There were more than one million visits to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour experiences last year, elevating the Kentucky tourism experience to levels never seen before,” said a local politician.

KDA President Eric Gregory said, “This report proves that Kentucky Bourbon is the new fuel for the state’s economy."

Well if you want to boost the economy. Bourbon is as good an impetus as any.

Here are some details for you geeky econ Bourbon drinkers.

  • Distilling contributes $8.5 billion to Kentucky’s economy, up $3 billion since 2008 and $1 billion in the last two years alone. 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.

So here's the bottom line. Drink more Bourbon and keep the Kentucky economy humming along. It won't last forever, but enjoy the party while it lasts!

I'm off to buy some more of the good brown stuff. My justification: I'm helping folks get jobs and it tastes damn good too! And it don't make you feel too bad either.

Cheers.

If you want to read the whole report go here.

Chris Brantley

Stumbled across bourbon via Walker Percy. Like to read, write and drink bourbon. Also, I enjoy living on the coast, grilling steaks, eating seafood and listening to good music. Great song on Spotify, fine bourbon in the glass, and something interesting to think about = BLISS.

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