Kentucky’s bourbon industry leaders meet at UK
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Leaders of Kentucky’s bourbon industry say business is booming.
This week, those leaders are at the University of Kentucky for the third annual Bourbon Industry Conference.
The overarching message from industry leaders was a positive one. Bourbon is having a huge impact on the Kentucky economy and the American Spirit isn’t slowing down.
“15 years ago, I didn’t think that it would come to this point, but I’m really glad it did,” Brad Boswell, Independent Stave Company. “To see bourbon, you know, going from what was kind of a very steady or dying part of the spirits industry, to now it’s the belle of the ball you know it’s really exciting to see that.”
The third annual Bourbon Industry Conference hosted by the James B. Beam Institute for Kentucky Spirits began with that message.
From 2021 to 2022, the industry produced more than $9 billion in economic output and supplied more than 22,000 jobs for Kentuckians.
“The industries growth has been tremendous the last number of years. We have record numbers on production, record numbers on inventory, and we’re spending $5.2 billion to grow the industry for the next three years,” said Eric Gregory, Kentucky Distillers Association president. “So, the bourbon industry itself is not slowing down. We’re just having some bumps in the road with supply chains like everybody else.”
Many of those bumps can be traced back to the pandemic, and the supply chain disruptions that have hit most businesses. However, officials aren’t overly concerned, saying that the industry is still strong and is primed to continue growing for years to come.
“This is Kentucky and this is the true and authentic home of bourbon and American spirits and that is going to continue to move in the right direction, but we need to take those challenges on with a concerted effort across all sectors,” said Seth Debolt, James B. Beam Institute director.
The conference will continue with speakers through Wednesday at UK.
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