Monday, April 29, 2013

Kentucky Bourbon Makers Fill 1,000,000 Barrels in 2012, First Time in 40 Years

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.


Anonymous said...

Gary said:

Does this include LDI/MGP? Just curious if they would count, as they're not distilled in Kentucky, but some number of barrels are filled in Kentucky by a Kentucky distillery/rectifier.

Glad to see the business is booming!

Chuck Cowdery said...

It's just Kentucky, so it includes Buffalo Trace and Barton 1792 (not KDA members) but doesn't include MGP's Indiana distillery. The number of MGP barrels aging in Kentucky is very small but might be counted, since this compilation is done for tax purposes.

Anonymous said...


Visited Willett, Heaven Hill, and Maker's Mark Distilleries yesterday.

Tour Guide at Willett mentioned Heaven Hill building new aging warehouses able to hold 50,000 barrels per building.

50,000 barrel warehouse 10 times larger than Willett's 5,000 barrel warehouses.

Willett and Heaven Hill are "Next Door Neighbors".

New warehouses also going up in Loretto for Maker's Mark.

Anonymous said...

What lead to the big decline since the last high, back in 1973?

EllenJ said...

Chuck, since the production (barrels) of whiskey is based on how much whiskey distillers expect to sell in four to ~eight years hence, does this tell you that whiskey consumption is expected to rise?

Or might it mean that the current world polictical and military situation is leading distillers to stockpile beverage alcohol in expectation that they may soon not be able to do that for awhile?

Chuck Cowdery said...

John, the former.

Anonymous, not a simple answer. The glib one would be that people stopped buying and drinking the stuff in droves. Why is the complicated part. Generation gap, availability of other intoxicants, legal and illegal, and so on.