Governor Beshear Declares September as “Bourbon Heritage Month” in the Bluegrass

August 28, 2014

For Immediate Release – August 28, 2014

FRANKFORT, Ky. – It’s time to celebrate all things Bourbon.

Gov. Steve Beshear today declared September to be “Bourbon Heritage Month” in the Commonwealth, toasting the signature industry’s monumental achievements and recognizing the 50th anniversary of Congress designating Bourbon as America’s only native spirit.

“Kentucky’s thriving Bourbon operations continue to burnish the Commonwealth’s reputation worldwide for quality, excellence and tradition,” Gov. Beshear said. “In addition, as one of our signature industries, Bourbon is a key driver of economic activity, attracting tourists, providing jobs
and luring millions of dollars in investment.

“It is a privilege once again to raise a glass and proclaim September ‘Bourbon Heritage Month’ as we toast our timeless craft.”

In his official Proclamation, Gov. Beshear cheered the following facts:

More than 5 million Bourbon barrels are gently resting in Kentucky warehouses for the first time since 1977, as production of the mellow amber nectar continues its remarkable resurgence.
The Commonwealth’s legendary distilleries have invested more than $500 million in capital projects to meet the growing global thirst, with hundreds of millions more planned in the coming years.
Bourbon production has skyrocketed more than 150 percent in the last 15 years, with 1.2 million barrels filled in 2013, the largest production year since 1970.
A record 571,701 visitors from all around the world poured into the Bluegrass last year to visit the famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail® tour, hailed by national publications as a unique and classic American experience.
Kentucky is the epicenter of the craft distilling industry, which is continuing the rich traditions started by our forefathers two centuries ago and attracting more than 60,000 visitors to the popular Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour®.
Bourbon has solidified its role as a vital part of the Bluegrass economy, generating $2 billion a year in gross state product, creating 9,000 jobs with an annual payroll of $415 million and producing $126 million in tax revenue every year.
Gov. Beshear and the Kentucky General Assembly enacted new legislation this year offering relief from the discriminatory Bourbon barrel tax, one of the industry’s most historic endeavors that will create new jobs and increase investment.
Joe Fraser, Chairman of the KDA Board of Directors, applauded Gov. Beshear for his support and leadership as Bourbon continues its meteoric rise. “We accomplish great things by working together, as this past legislative session proved with virtual elimination of the barrel tax,” he said.

“The strides we’ve made in the past year are revolutionary,” said Fraser, Vice President of Operations at Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc. “We have more investment, more distilleries, more jobs, more visitors and – most importantly – more great Bourbon than we have had in generations.”

As proof of the Bourbon industry’s tremendous growth, the KDA this week launched its first-ever membership drive to recruit the dozens of new and expanding distilleries that are pouring into the Commonwealth.

The KDA, founded in 1880, reached 20 member companies this year, the most in its hallowed ranks since 1947.

KDA President Eric Gregory hinted at more Bourbon announcements in the next few weeks.

“There’s always a lot of Bourbon news during September, but this year is truly special,” he said. “New tourism stops, new economic data and maybe even a few surprises. You’ll want to have your glasses ready for some incredible toasts.

“Kentucky is the one, true and authentic home of Bourbon, and the only place in the world that sets aside an entire month to celebrate. On behalf of our member distilleries, we hope everyone savors Bourbon Heritage Month responsibly and in moderation.”

For more information, contact Eric Gregory at (502) 875-9351.

The KDA is the state’s leading advocate on spirits issues. Heritage members include Beam Suntory (Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark), Brown-Forman Corp., Diageo North America, Four Roses Distillery, Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc., and Wild Turkey Distillery. Proof members includes Michter’s Distillery.

Craft members include Alltech’s Town Branch Distillery, Barrel House Distilling Co., Copper & Kings American Brandy Distillery, Corsair Artisan Distillery, Kentucky Artisan Distillery, Limestone Branch Distillery, MB Roland Distillery, New Riff Distillery, The Old Pogue Distillery, Silver Trail Distillery, Wilderness Trail Distillery and The Willett Distillery. The Distilled Spirits Epicenter is the KDA’s official educational distillery.

Visit the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® tour online at, follow us on Twitter (@kybourbontrail) and Facebook ( For more information on Kentucky’s signature Bourbon industry, go to KENTUCKY BOURBON TRAIL® and BOURBON TRAIL™ are trademarks/service marks of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association. Please drink responsibly.

Enjoy Like a True Kentuckian: Responsibly