Does Kentucky own Bourbon Heritage Month? Heck no, it’s a celebration to be shared and experienced around the world. But in the state that produces 95% of the world’s bourbon, they do take full advantage of the amber spirits month long celebration.
Bourbon – A Success Story that has Not Reached its Full Potential
Kentucky’s Bourbon industry, an $8.5 billion economic engine, is seeing unprecedented growth in capital investment and production, with more than $1.2 billion in capital projects underway or recently completed around the Commonwealth.
The newest investment is the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® Welcome Center and Spirit of Kentucky exhibit at the Frazier History Museum on historic Whiskey Row in Louisville, which opened its doors just in time for Bourbon Heritage Month is now the official starting point of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® experiences.
The interactive, state-of-the-art experience features Kentucky Bourbon-related historical exhibits and educates visitors on why the Bluegrass has the perfect mix of water, climate, corn and natural conditions that make it the one, true, authentic home of America’s only native spirit.
Another main feature is a Kentucky Bourbon Trail concierge service located in the museum’s new entrance that will help thousands of visitors plan their trip to distilleries around the state, as well as navigating Louisville’s burgeoning Bourbon culinary and nightlife scene.
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Bourbon as Tourism Fuel
The Governor’s Proclamation also notes that visitors made more than 1.2 million stops at Kentucky Bourbon Trail distilleries for the second year in a row. Attendance at the 28 participating distilleries has skyrocketed by 314 percent in the last 10 years.
Kentucky Distillers’ Association President Eric Gregory said, “The remarkable growth in our distilling industry has not only fueled the state’s economy, but it is transforming our tourism industry. Bourbon tourism is spreading all across our state and creating worldwide tourist destinations in every corner of Kentucky.”
“With Bourbon as the fuel, Kentucky’s hospitality industry is undergoing a renaissance with a surge in conferences, new hotel construction, Bourbon-inspired food and restaurants, concerts, and retail branding,” he said. “My Old Kentucky Home is definitely feeling new again.”
The growth also has had a tremendous impact on the state’s agriculture industry as well, with distillers’ local corn purchases up 65 per cent over the last few years. And, local manufacturers of distilling equipment and warehouses are racing to keep up, spurred by the growing global thirst for Kentucky Bourbon.
Gregory said, “We thank Governor Bevin for his commitment to transforming our industry by eliminating Prohibition-era red tape bureaucracy and modernizing the state’s archaic alcohol laws to allow our distilleries to market and thrive in today’s economy.
“We look forward to his partnership as we continue the rich tradition of hard work and hospitality that has advanced Kentucky’s spirits industry to be the tremendous economic driver it is today. Let’s toast this success by celebrating Kentucky Bourbon Heritage Month like a true Kentuckian: Responsibly.”