Kentucky Bourbon Trail and Kentucky State Seal

The state of Kentucky is one step closer to upping its distillery tourism game. The state that leads the nation in bourbon production is working with legislatures to catch up to other states with what can be sampled, mixed or sold at a local distillery. It’s kind of ironic that the state that produces 90% of the worlds Bourbon has some of the most restrictive laws compared to other states.

UPDATE#2: Booyah! Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin signed Seanate Bill 11 into law on April 9, 2016. Time for Kentucky distillers to raise a glass in celebration then shift to implementation phase.

UPDATE#1: Boom! Kentucky House APPROVED SB11 today, 3/29 in a 31 to 6 vote. The bill now moves on for signature by Governor Matt Bevin.

The Kentucky House Recognizing Members of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association in Attendance
Kentucky House Recognizes Members of the Kentucky Distillers Association
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Kentucky Distillers Association Logo
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Eric Gregory, President of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association said, “Kentucky took a much‐needed step out of Prohibition today with the House passage of Senate Bill 11, which modernizes our archaic alcohol laws and strengthens our famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail® adventures as premium tourism destinations.”

This is a responsible, bipartisan and common‐sense measure that will create jobs, increase investment and generate millions in new tax revenue for state and local coffers while ensuring a richer experience for our visitors.

We applaud today’s passage by the House and look forward to concurrence by the Senate.”

Major Provisions of Senate Bill 11

1. Sample Size

Today’s sample size for distillery visitors is 1.00 ounce per visitor per day. The bill is asking to increase that sample size to 1.75 ounces per visitor per day.

2. Bottle Sales at the Distillery

Today, distillers can sell up to 3 liters of their product to distillery visitors per day. The original version of the bill asked to triple that number to 9 bottles (a case) per visit. In the bill that was approved by the house, that number was cut in half to 4.5 liters. Opinions among some of Kentucky’s major distilleries varied on the request to increase the bottles for sale at the distillery. Buffalo Trace Distillery spoke out against the increase saying that it could hurt their relationship with local retailers. You can see video testimony of their opinion here. This provision really is geared toward tourists because the cost of a bottle at the distillery is typically higher than the price at a local liquor store.

3. Mixed Drinks

Regular readers of may prefer to drink their spirits “neat”, especially when visiting the home of their favorite spirit. But often the other folks that they convinced to go on the distillery tour with them are not fans of drinking shots. When sampling after the tour you can see many faces cringe because they don’t normally drink straight bourbon. This new law will allow for mixed drinks to be sold at the distillery. This should create a much better user experience for a large portion of the distillery tourists.

Proponent of the Bill, State Representative Dennis Keene
Kentucky Representative Dennis Keene
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Other Items in the Bill

  • Just like in many other states, this bill would make the sale of powdered or crystal alcohol illegal.
  • Make the use of a commercial “quadricycle”, a people powered cart that can take passengers from distillery to distillery or bar to bar legal.

Related Story
29th State to Propose Powdered Alcohol Ban

The amended version of the bill passed with a vote of 76 to 20 and now goes on to the Senate for approval then to the states Governor for final approval.

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