For the first time since 1973, Kentucky’s distilleries filled one million barrels in 2012, further proof that the industry is enjoying a historic renaissance not seen in decades. “This is an incredible milestone that’s been 40 years in the making,” said Eric Gregory, President of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association (KDA). “Our legendary distilleries are posting landmark production levels, investing millions in new facilities and experiencing double-digit growth in sales."
The KDA announced today that there were 1,007,703 barrels filled in 2012, the most since 1973. Just since 1999, Bourbon production has increased more than 120 percent, thanks in large part to the growing global demand for premium small batch and single barrel bourbons, and the rebirth of “cocktail culture,” Gregory said.
Today, more than 4.9 million barrels are gently aging in Kentucky's warehouses, the most since 1977. Last year, more than 500,000 people visited the KDA’s Kentucky Bourbon Trail distilleries, the first time the world-renowned tourism destination has broken the half-million mark.
The KDA is a non-profit trade association founded in 1880. It is the state’s leading voice on spirits issues. Its members produce 90 percent of the world’s bourbon whiskey and have invested more than $230 million in new facilities, equipment and tourism centers in the last two years alone.
Heritage members include Beam, Inc. (Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark); Brown-Forman Corp.; Diageo North America; Four Roses Distillery; Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc.; and Wild Turkey Distillery.
Craft distillery members include Alltech; Barrel House Distilling Co.; Corsair Artisan Distillery; Limestone Branch Distillery; MB Roland Distillery; The Old Pogue Distillery; Silver Trail Distillery; and Willett Distillery.
The Distilled Spirits Epicenter in Louisville is an educational distillery member.