Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

May 4, 2013

Booming times

Production of bourbon is at highest level in 40 years

The Independent

ASHLAND — While coal mining in eastern Kentucky has declined sharply in the last year, not all the economic news in the state is bleak.

Take the bourbon industry, for example. The Kentucky Distillers’ Association reported Monday that bourbon produced in Kentucky in 2012 topped 1 million barrels for the first time in nearly 40 years.

To be specific, 1,007,703 barrels were produced in Kentucky last year. The last time the total went over a million was in 1973 when 1,004,877 barrels were produced.

Eric Gregory, president of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, said Kentucky’s distilleries are experiencing double-digit sales growth and seeing landmark production levels while investing in new facilities. The association, which promotes and lobbies on behalf of the bourbon industry, says bourbon production is up more than 120 percent since 1999, and is continuing to grow at a rapid rate,

News of more bourbon being produced and sold in Kentucky in 2012 than at any time since the early 1970s is likely to dismay instead of elate the many churches and their members that oppose the sale of alcohol and consider its consumption a sin, the many counties and cities in the state where alcohol sales are still prohibited and the many who consider the negatives from the sale of alcohol in any form to outweigh the positives.

But rapidly increasing bourbon sales are good news for the state’s economy. Not only do the increased sales both create and protect jobs, but they also promote a type of alcohol for which this state in famous.

As long as there is a market for bourbon, some companies ares going to make it to meet the demand. We’d much rather the world’s best bourbon be produced in Kentucky than elsewhere.