Milk or bourbon? Which beverage should be Kentucky’s official drink?

Milk is Kentucky’s official drink, but Kentucky for Kentucky hopes to change that to bourbon.
Milk is Kentucky’s official drink, but Kentucky for Kentucky hopes to change that to bourbon. Kentucky for Kentucky

A bill passed in 2005 made milk the official drink of Kentucky but a Lexington-based and Kentucky-proud retailer hopes to change that to a beverage the state is known for producing.

Kentucky for Kentucky has created a petition on to switch the state’s official drink from milk to bourbon.

With 95 percent of the world’s bourbon made in the Bluegrass state, Kentucky for Kentucky says it makes sense for it to be the official drink.

“Milk is boring, bland and contributes next to nothing to Kentucky’s image or economy. Bourbon, on the other hand, is wildly popular around the world, unique to the Commonwealth, a source of pride for its citizens, a major economic driver and conjures an idyllic image of our state in the minds of those who might choose to visit or do business here,” the business stated on its website.

Kentucky is one of 20 states with milk as its official beverage.

As popular as bourbon is in the state and nationwide, Kentucky for Kentucky partner Whit Hiler said it’s a “no-brainer” for bourbon to be the official beverage.

“Bourbon tourism is booming so much and so is that business in general,” Hiler said. “Having the state beverage be bourbon would only help tourism more.”

According to the petition, bourbon is an $8.5 billion industry in the state and generates 17,500 jobs.

The petition will be delivered to the Kentucky state Senate and state House once it receives 100 signatures. Within the first hour of it posted on social media, it already received 58 signatures.

Hiler said he thinks the change could happen in the next year, especially if some of the big-name distilleries in the state step in to help.

“Bourbon is king here, and when we discovered that milk was the official state beverage of Kentucky, we thought it was ridiculous.”

The petition is more than just a publicity stunt for Kentucky for Kentucky, which caught a major audience in 2012 with its “Kentucky Kicks Ass” campaign.

“We just acted on it and decided it would be a fun article and petition to put out there,” Hiler said. “I don’t see why it wouldn’t go down or how it would hurt the state.”

Mike Stunson: 859-231-1324, @mike_stunson