Bourbon Industry

It’s National Bourbon Day. Here’s 10 things every Kentuckian should know about our spirit

There’s no doubt bourbon is one of the most celebrated drinks in Kentucky, and it’s popularity is growing daily across the world. But how much do you actually know about the local liquor? Friday, June 14 is National Bourbon Day, so in honor of the holiday and courtesy of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, here are some bourbon facts to take with you to the bar this weekend.

Kentucky crafts 95 percent of the world’s bourbon supply.

Only the United States can legally make the spirit. And Kentucky, with its varied temperatures and pure limestone water, has a great climate for bourbon.

Kentucky bourbon is almost a $9 billion industry.

Totaling at $8.6 billion, the beverage brings in a lot of revenue for Kentuckians. The bourbon industry has helped generate over 20,000 jobs in Kentucky.

Since 2009, the number of distilleries has gone up 250 percent.

In 2009, Kentucky only had 8 distilleries. As of 2018, the state had 68.

Bourbon is made with corn, and a lot of it.

The spirit must be made with a minimum of 51 percent corn. It takes nine bushes of corn and three bushels of other grains to make just one barrel of bourbon. More than half of that corn came from nearby, with Kentucky farms growing more than 9 million of the bushels used.

Bourbon is a patriotic spirit.

That’s right, Congress declared bourbon as America’s only native spirit in 1964.

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More than a third of all distilling jobs in the U.S. are in Kentucky, with an average yearly salary of $95,000. File photo

Kentucky bourbon is hit worldwide.

Kentucky exported more than $450 million worth of whiskey, most of it bourbon, in 2017. Most of it went either to the EU, Australia or Japan.

There are 8.1 million aging barrels in Kentucky.

The drink must be aged in an oak barrel stored at no more than 125 proof before it can be served. There are over eight million of these barrels in Kentucky right now, getting ready to kick out some bourbon.

There are currently two barrels for every person living in Kentucky.

As of 2018, there were 4.3 million people living in the state, so there are almost enough bourbon barrels for each person to have two.

Tourists accounted for 1.4 million stops to Kentucky for distilleries in 2018.

Tourists come from all around the world to see Kentucky’s bourbon distilleries, including the 16 along the official Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

Distillers partnered with Lyft to help deliver safe rides from distilleries.

Kentucky distillers helped deliver over 3,700 free rides to help prevent drinking and driving. As another commitment to safety, in 2018 distillers stopped a total of 250 fake IDs from being used. They use Intellicheck, which helps scan IDs to determine their legitimacy.

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