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Whisky Advocate: Kentucky Bourbon’s Comeback

December 26, 2017

Visitors used to visit Kentucky for horses and Mint Juleps, preferably enjoyed together. Those who did drink Bourbon gave little thought to how it was made. But now, with Bourbon’s return to its place as America’s native spirit, enthusiastic drinkers are venturing outside the racetrack and exploring the rolling hills of Kentucky, Bourbon’s spiritual home. Distilleries along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail are now hosting more than 1 million visitors annually—representing a 300% rise over the past decade and transforming the landscape in Bourbon country.

The state of Kentucky, seeing which way the winds are blowing, has been happy to help. For years, distilleries could legally offer just two half-ounce samples of their product. Kentucky Senate Bill 11, passed in 2016, nearly doubled that limit, and also eased restrictions on distillery sales. In addition, the bill provides for a license to run an on-site bar and sell drinks by the glass. Jim Beam has a cocktail bar at the distillery, and several craft producers—including Angel’s Envy in Louisville and Jeptha Creed in Shelbyville—have followed suit. Whisky Advocate has a full report on Bourbon country’s renaissance.

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