Barrel Strength
Brochure 2017
  • Kentucky is the birthplace of Bourbon, crafting 95 percent of the world’s supply. Only the Bluegrass State has the perfect natural mix of climate, conditions and pure limestone water necessary for producing the world’s greatest Bourbon.
  • Bourbon is America’s only native spirit, as declared by Congress in 1964. It must be made with a minimum of 51 percent corn, aged in charred new oak barrels, stored at no more than 125 proof and bottled no less than 80 proof.
  • Barrels at Wild TurkeyBourbon is a $3 billion signature industry in Kentucky, generating 15,400 jobs with an annual payroll of $707 million. Spirits production and consumption pours more than $166 million in state and local tax coffers every year.
  • More than $1.3 billion in capital projects has been completed or is planned and underway in the next five years, including new distilleries and aging warehouses to bottling facilities and tourism centers.
  • Bourbon production has increased more than 170 percent since 1999 (485,020 barrels compared to 1,306,375 in 2014), with premium small batch and single barrel brands driving the Bourbon renaissance.
  • At 1.3 million barrels, Bourbon production in 2014 reached its highest mark since 1970, and a third straight year with a million barrels born.
  • Total Bourbon inventory topped 5.6 million barrels in 2014, the highest it’s been since 1975. That means there are one million more barrels of Bourbon aging in Kentucky than there are people (4.4 million) living in the Commonwealth.
  • The 2014 tax-assessed value of all barrels aging in Kentucky is $1.9 billion – an increase of $81 million from 2013 and nearly double the value since 2006 ($1 billion).
  • Nearly 60 percent of every bottle of spirits in Kentucky goes to taxes or fees, with seven different taxes on Bourbon – including an ad valorem tax on barrels each and every year it ages. Distilleries paid $15.2 million in barrel taxes in 2013, up 52 percent since 2006.
  • U.S. distilled spirits exports topped $1.5 billion in 2013. Kentucky Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey made up more than $1 billion of that amount, making it the largest export category among all U.S. distilled spirits.
  • The KDA, a non-profit trade group founded in 1880, represents 20 member companies for the first time since 1947 as its ranks have swelled with new distilleries, strengthening Kentucky’s rightful place as the one, true, authentic home for Bourbon and spirits.