Kentucky Bourbon Inventory Tops 5 Million Barrels

July 22, 2014


For Immediate Release — July 22, 2014

FRANKFORT, Ky. — More than 5 million Bourbon barrels are gently resting in Kentucky warehouses for the first time since 1977, as production of the signature spirit continued its remarkable resurgence in 2013.

Kentucky’s legendary Bourbon distilleries filled 1.2 million barrels last year, the most since 1970. Production has skyrocketed more than 150 percent in the last 15 years, resulting in 5,294,988 aging barrels at the end of 2013.

“Our historic warehouses are brimming with plenty of Kentucky Bourbon to satisfy the growing global thirst for our mellow amber nectar,” said Eric Gregory, president of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, a non-profit trade group that released the figures today.

“We’re pushing production and inventories past milestones not seen in generations,” he said. “Distillers are making landmark investments, creating new jobs, driving record numbers of tourists to the state and pouring hundreds of millions into local economies.

“It’s an incredible success story for our beloved Commonwealth and a clear forecast that the Bourbon revolution has no signs of slowing down.”

The last time Bourbon inventory reached the 5 million mark, a gallon of gas cost 62 cents, Star Wars debuted in theaters, Atari released its popular video game console, Rocky won Best Picture and the world said goodbye to Groucho Marx, Bing Crosby and Elvis.

“It is remarkable that our Bourbon inventory has reached 5 million barrels and continues to grow in order to keep up with the world’s demand for Bourbon,” Gov. Steve Beshear said.

“I congratulate our distillers on this milestone and thank them once again for the economic and tourism impact the Bourbon industry has on the Commonwealth.”

Other key facts released today:

Bourbon isn’t the only spirit aging in barrels. When you include brandy and other whiskies, the state’s total barrel inventory was 5.9 million in 2013, the highest total since 1975.
The tax-assessed value of aging barrels this year is $1.9 billion, an increase of $81 million from 2013.
Since 2006, the value of barrels has nearly doubled ($1 billion to $1.9 billion).
Distilleries paid $15.2 million in ad valorem barrel taxes last year to the state and local communities. Ad valorem taxes have increased 52 percent since 2006.
Kentucky is the only place in the world that taxes aging barrels of spirits. However, the Kentucky General Assembly enacted a monumental new law earlier this year that offers distilleries a corporate income tax credit against the amount of barrel taxes paid.

Distilleries are required to reinvest that money into their Kentucky operations, which will create more jobs, increase investment and attract more craft distilleries to the Commonwealth.

In addition to breakthrough barrel numbers, 2013 saw other notable achievements for Bourbon.

The KDA’s Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® experiences logged more than 630,000 visits in 2013, a new record for the tours that showcase the group’s heritage and craft distilleries.

The inaugural Kentucky Bourbon Affair™ fantasy camp attracted thousands of aficionados from 26 states and three countries to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Congressional Resolution that designated Bourbon as America’s native spirit.

And, the KDA reached 20 members for the first time since 1947 as the ranks swelled with new distilleries, strengthening Kentucky’s rightful place as the one, true and authentic home for Bourbon and artisan spirits.

“The incredible surge in production of Bourbon and the levels of barrel inventory would be newsworthy in and of itself, but when one also looks at the growth in Kentucky Bourbon Trail visitors and the successful launch of the Kentucky Bourbon Affair, it is easy to see why Bourbon is the hottest product in the distilled spirits category,” noted Joe Fraser, Chairman of the KDA Board of Directors and Vice President of Operations for Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc.

“It is very gratifying to know that the renaissance of Bourbon has meant so much for economic development across many different sectors.”


For more information, contact Eric Gregory, KDA President, (502) 875-9351

The KDA, founded in 1880, 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 include 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 Willett Distillery. The Distilled Spirits Epicenter is the KDA’s official educational distillery.

KENTUCKY BOURBON TRAIL®, BOURBON TRAIL™, KENTUCKY BOURBON TRAIL CRAFT TOUR® and KENTUCKY BOURBON AFFAIR™ are trademarks/service marks of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association. Please drink responsibly.

Enjoy Like a True Kentuckian: Responsibly