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Kentucky Bourbon Production Sets New Record

October 6, 2021

With the brown spirits boom ongoing, Kentucky now has more than 10.3 million barrels of Bourbon maturing within its borders, according to the Kentucky Distillers Association (KDA). That tally includes a record 2.5 million barrels filled last year. The state’s distillers have now filled more than 2 million barrels for three straight years. The tax-assessed value of Kentucky’s aging Bourbon is now $4.4 billion, up 13% from a year ago.

Eric Gregory, president of the Kentucky Distillers Association, sees further growth ahead. “The Bourbon industry is investing more than $5 billion in this state to increase production, build innovative tourism centers and create thousands of new jobs,” he said. Still, Gregory warned that taxes on aging Bourbon and tariffs in foreign markets are presenting threats to the category’s progress.

In particular, European Union tariffs on American whiskey are set to double to 50% on December 1 as part of a dispute dating back to U.S. tariffs on E.U. steel and aluminum in 2018. The KDA and other trade groups have called upon U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and Trade Ambassador Katherine Tai to find a solution to the dispute—and secure the removal of those tariffs—before the situation gets worse.—Daniel Marsteller

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