Overall, the Kentucky Bourbon industry adds $8.5 billion each year into the state’s economy, up $3 billion since 2008 and $1 billion in the last two years alone, providing the state $825 million in tax revenue, according to the association’s biennial study, conducted in collaboration with the University of Louisville’s Urban Studies Institute.
The number of distilleries in the state now stands at 52, with a “$1.2 billion building boom” currently taking place as a number of distilleries are built and expanded, driven in part by the repeal of the ad valorem barrel tax.
The repeal, under House Bill 445, offers Kentucky distillers a corporate income tax credit against the amount of barrel taxes paid, providing the money is reinvested into their work in Kentucky.
“By virtually eliminating the barrel tax, we paved the way for more than one billion dollars in new distillery investments and created jobs for thousands of Kentuckians,” said Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester. “That growth is exactly what an authentic signature industry can do for Kentucky.”
Currently, the industry supports some 17,500 jobs, taking into account its supply chain as well, a rise of 2,000 positions since 2014. Pay for those workers was found to have increased to more than $800 million from $707 million in 2014.
“The powerful growth of Kentucky’s Bourbon industry is a testament to our proud history of innovation, engineering and manufacturing,” Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin said. “It is a genuine, home grown, only-in-Kentucky success story. As we continue cutting bureaucratic red tape across the Commonwealth, we will pave the way for even more economic opportunity and job growth in the Bourbon industry, as well as every other industry across the Bluegrass state.”
If the industry continues to grow at this rate, the report predicts that its economic output would exceed $10 billion by 2020.
“The outlook is bright for Bourbon – and will be brighter as we continue to improve the business environment of Kentucky,” said David Adkisson, president and CEO of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. “There’s no doubt that Kentucky Bourbon is enjoying a historic renaissance.”