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February 7, 2019 10:52am

New report highlights impact of GLI-backed legislation on bourbonism

A new report released yesterday showed that the economic impact of the Bourbon industry in Kentucky has doubled in the past decade. The study, “The Economic and Fiscal Impacts of the Distilling Industry in Kentucky,” estimated an $8.6 billion economic impact, which includes more than 20,000 jobs, an annual payroll of $1 billion, and $235 million in state and local tax revenue. These numbers are double of what was reported in a study from 2009.

At a press conference in Frankfort on Wednesday, representatives from the Bourbon industry, legislative leaders, and Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin highlighted the importance of legislation in helping the Bourbon to become the vital industry that it is today. “Kentucky and its citizens have been the big winners since the General Assembly reversed course and began reducing taxes and eliminating Prohibition-era regulations on the spirits industry,” said Bill Samuels, Jr., Chairman Emeritus of Maker’s Mark Distillery and former GLI Board Chairman (2006).

GLI has been proud to play a key role in advocating for pro-business policies in Frankfort to support Bourbonism. Just a few quick examples:

  • In 2018, GLI worked to secure passage of House Bill 400, which established a safe legal and regulatory system whereby tourists and Kentuckians can ship bottles back home when visiting the Commonwealth’s world-famous distilleries. GLI also supported tax reform legislation that created a credit against inventory taxes.
  • In 2017, GLI backed House Bill 100, which allowed distillers to sell vintage spirits at fairs, festivals, bars and to restaurants.
  • In 2016, GLI supported Senate Bill 11, which authorized distillers to sell alcohol by the drink to patrons at their distilleries.  

Throughout 2019 and beyond, GLI will be working actively to continue advocating for policies that allow the Bourbon industry to continue growing and contributing to Greater Louisville’s regional economy. From our 2019 State Legislative Agenda: “With the growing popularity of the Urban Bourbon Trail® and the expansion of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® experiences into downtown Louisville, visitors across the nation and the world are flocking to the Derby city for these experiences. The General Assembly should work to protect Kentucky’s signature industry and help position it to continue driving economic growth throughout the Greater Louisville region.”

Read the full report on the economic impact of the Bourbon industry here.