bourbon

Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

Kentucky distillers, wineries and liquor retailers can now ship wine and spirits across state lines after the legislature passed the “bourbon without borders” bill earlier this year.

The new law will allow visitors to Kentucky to ship up to 4.5 liters of spirits or 4 cases of wine back home — as long as their home state allows it.

During a ceremonial bill signing on Friday, Gov. Matt Bevin said the new law will help build the state’s signature bourbon industry.

Angel's Envy

The Kentucky whiskey distiller Angel’s Envy is planting more than 12,000 trees in the Daniel Boone National Forest. The move is part of the company’s sustainability program.

In September of last year Angel’s Envy fans shared photos on social media with #AE4THETREES. The company counted more than 12,000 photos and posts with the hashtag, so they’re planting a tree for almost every post. Kyle Henderson is the production manager at the Louisville-based Angel’s Envy. He said it means a lot to him to be part of the sustainability effort.

Becca Schimmel

Bottles of bourbon make their way through the assembly line at Maker’s Mark, one of ten distilleries on the Kentucky bourbon trail. They’re cleaned, filled, capped and then dipped in the company’s signature red wax, a tradition that started with the wife of the distillery’s founder, Bill Samuels.

"She took red sealing wax, she put it in her family's deep fryer right there in the kitchen, dipped the first bottle of Maker’s Mark right there in her kitchen,” a tour guide explained. “She brought it out to Bill Samuels Sr. as he was sitting there in the kitchen and he hated it. Well, you see who won."


J. Tyler Frankin

Gov. Matt Bevin was non-committal when asked what he thinks of President Donald Trump’s proposal to institute tariffs on foreign-made steel and aluminum.

The policy could benefit Kentucky aluminum manufacturers like Braidy Industries — the company that Bevin helped attract to the state with a package of economic incentives — and Century Aluminum, which announced it would hire 300 new workers in Hancock County if the tariff went into effect.

If the Trump administration starts a trade war, Kentucky bourbon may get caught in the crossfire.

The administration is weighing strict new limits on imported steel and aluminum in hopes of shoring up homegrown metal industries. But European allies are warning of possible retaliation, including tariffs aimed at politically sensitive products such as bourbon and orange juice.

"That's what a lot of countries will look to do," said Rufus Yerxa, president of the National Foreign Trade Council. "Something that will get the Trump administration's attention."

Kevin Willis

Kentucky’s bourbon distilleries continue to gain popularity as a tourist destination.

A statement from the Kentucky Distillers’ Association says nearly 1.2 million people visited the 23 members of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and Bourbon Trail Craft tour last year.

The number of visitors has grown by 314 percent over the past ten years.

We'll give it to you straight: If President Trump slaps a tariff on steel, the U.S. bourbon industry might be left reeling.

Trump has long vowed to impose tariffs on some imports, and his administration has recently focused on the steel industry. A blanket tariff on steel wouldn't just hurt China, the frequent target of Trump's trademark trade tirades. It would also deal a blow to allies such as Germany.

Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

Kentucky’s bourbon industry could find itself in the middle of a potential trade war between the United States and the European Union.

President Donald Trump wants to protect U.S. steel, which could include placing high tariffs on steel imports from China and Germany. In response, the European Union shot back. EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said he would be ready within days to retaliate by placing high tariffs on American agricultural exports — and he specifically called out Kentucky Bourbon.

Flickr/Creative Commons/Jason Rojas

A bill that would allow vintage bottles of whiskey to be put back into circulation in the world's bourbon capital has cleared a Kentucky House committee.

The measure would allow people who possess old, unopened bottles of spirits to sell them to bars, restaurants or liquor stores. The bill was advanced Wednesday by the House Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations Committee.

Supporters include the Kentucky Distillers' Association president.

KDA President Eric Gregory says there are probably more vintage bottles of bourbon tucked away in attics in Kentucky than anywhere else.

Abbey Oldham, WKU Public Radio

The economic potency of bourbon is getting stronger with age, increasing its impact on Kentucky by $1 billion in the past two years as demand for American whiskeys continues to grow.

The Distilled Spirits Council said Tuesday in New York that combined U.S. revenues for bourbon, Tennessee whiskey and rye whiskey shot up 7.7 percent to $3.1 billion in 2016.

It says export volumes rose 10 percent, but revenues fell short of $1 billion for the first time in recent years as the strong dollar led more consumers to choose less expensive whiskeys.

A new study shows Kentucky's distilling sector now contributes $8.5 billion annually to the state's economy, up $3 billion since 2008 and a $1 billion increase in the past two years.

Bardstown Bourbon Co. Partners With Bowling Green Firm

Jan 30, 2017
Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

Bardstown Bourbon Co. has announced the first partnership in its collaborative distilling program.

The company says Western Spirits Beverage Co. will work with its team to produce whiskey for Western Spirits' brand portfolio at the Bardstown distillery. Bowling Green-based Western Spirits produces Bird Dog Whiskey, Lexington Bourbon and Calumet Farm Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey.

Bardstown Bourbon recently broke ground on a distillery expansion to double its capacity to 3 million proof gallons.

Kentucky Bourbon Tourism Hits New Milestone

Jan 25, 2017
Abbey Oldham, WKU Public Radio

Kentucky's whiskey makers are toasting a new milestone in bourbon tourism.

The Kentucky Distillers' Association says more than one million guests visited distilleries along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour in 2016.

KDA says the tourism attractions had double-digit attendance growth compared to 2015. Attendance has shot up 300 percent in the past decade.

It says the Kentucky Bourbon Trail tour, showcasing nine distilleries, had a record 888,733 visits in 2016. Those distilleries produce bourbon's biggest brands, including Jim Beam, Evan Williams, Wild Turkey, Maker's Mark, Four Roses and Woodford Reserve.

Kevin Willis

A sixth-generation distiller has passed away after five decades with one of the most famous bourbon producers.

Parker Beam served as Master Distiller Emeritus for Heaven Hill distilleries, and was with the company for more than 50 years.

Heaven Hill announced Monday that Beam died following a years-long battle with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Jim Beam

Striking Jim Beam workers at two Kentucky distilleries have accepted a contract offer, ending a walkout that lasted nearly a week.

United Food and Commercial Workers union official Tommy Ballard says workers approved the proposal on a 204-19 vote Friday and will return to work Monday. The strike began last Saturday when Beam workers at two distilleries turned down a prior offer.

The workers' main complaint with the world's leading bourbon producer was not money but time. The union wanted more full-time workers hired, rather than a greater reliance on temporary workers.

Jim Beam

Union workers at one of Kentucky’s biggest bourbon distillers are going on strike.

The decision impacts Jim Beam employees who are members of the local chapter of the United Food and Commercial Workers union.

The Kentucky Standard reports 201 workers voted to reject a contract offer by parent company Beam Suntory.

Nineteen voted to accept the offer.

Unless an agreement is reached soon, union workers will go on strike at midnight Friday.

Workers say they plan to protest with picket signs at the Jim Beam facility in Bullitt County, with a possible protest at the facility in Nelson County.

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