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Kentucky First In The Nation In Whiskey Exports

Author: Ken Thomas, via Wikimedia Commons

Governor Beshear is drawing attention to the Commonwealth’s booming bourbon business.  The governor announced Monday that Kentucky is the nation’s leading exporter of whiskey, which includes bourbon and rye.

Governor Beshear said 2019 export reports indicated Kentucky was number one. He made the announcement while filling the 16 millionth barrel of Jim Beam at Jim Beam American Stillhouse in Clermont.  

Beshear said, quote, “Our bourbon is now a multibillion-dollar signature industry, which helps support our families with more than 20,000 jobs and an annual payroll topping $1 billion.”  Kentucky led all states in whiskey exports in 2019 at $485 million.  That total marks a 326% increase since 2004, aided by the bourbon industry‘s sizeable growth over the last decade plus. 

The state exported whiskies to 93 countries throughout the year.  The Commonwealth’s products used in barrel making were also in high demand in recent years.  Kentucky exported $234 million worth of casks, barrels, vats, and wood parts last year.  That was over a 1000% increase since 2004.

Stu Johnson is a reporter/producer at WEKU in Lexington, Kentucky.
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