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No End In Sight For Bourbon Boom

The dramatic growth of Kentucky’s bourbon industry has some observers wondering how long the boom can last.

But the president of the Kentucky Distiller’s Association says the rosy forecast is set to continue for the foreseeable future.

For industry observers, it seems like every week brings news of yet another distillery expansion or visitor center ribbon-cutting. And the trend shows no signs of slowing. Association president Eric Gregory tells cn|2 Pure Politics a University of Louisville economic impact study for the bourbon industry produced results so good the organization had them triple-checked.

"I really think that it's going to last for a long time," he said. "The distilleries have got experts who are a lot smarter than I am that are looking and forecasting bourbon production and sales 5, 10, even 20 years out. And they're predicting a bright future or else they wouldn't be spending these hundreds of millions of dollars in investment to put back a product that won't mature and be bottled for 5, 10, or 12 years."

While lawmakers in Frankfort signed off on tax breaks on bourbon aging this year, Gregory says he would like to see the General Assembly increase sample sizes for distilleries that produce four or five brands.

The full 2014 economic impact report has yet to be released, but a 2012 study predicted the industry was poised to create more than 9,000 jobs and generate roughly $125 million in taxes.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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