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Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

Seven distilleries have joined the Kentucky Distillers' Association and the president of the organization says the KDA is poised for even more growth next year. 

Boundary Oak Distillery in Elizabethtown, Casey Jones Distillery in Hopkinsville and Dueling Ground Distillery in Franklin are among the craft distilleries that joined the organization on Monday. 

Bluegrass Distillers in Lexington, Kentucky Peerless Stilling Co of Louisville, the Gentleman Distillery in Paris and Three Boys Farm Distillery in Frankfort also became members of the KDA.

The group is now composed of 27 members, the most since the 1930s when the group was re-established after Prohibition.  President Eric Gregory says the number of distilleries in the KDA could rise to 40 by next year. 

Not Just 'Cyber Monday', But 'Cyber Week' For Many Kentucky Retailers

Dec 1, 2014

Some businesses in Kentucky are working to extend cyber Monday through the end of the week.  A number of advertisements this past weekend promoted an e-commerce focus for the entire week. 

Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President Dave Adkisson says UPS in Louisville is beefing up its workforce to keep up with demand, as is a major on-line delivery service in the Bluegrass Region. 

"In central Kentucky, you have Amazon and locations where they are shipping product through all hours of the day and night," said Adkisson.  "So Kentucky with its central location and great logistics network both air and rail and highway, we're in great shape to take advantage of e-commerce."  

In addition to big corporations like UPS and Amazon, Adkisson says many smaller retailers have reinvented themselves to take advantage of e-commerce.  Adkisson says e-commerce is still not viable for all Kentucky retailers. 

"There's fallout from this.  You know a traditional main street merchant who has not made that leap or whose business products and services don't really lend themselves to e-commerce, they have to emphasize customer service and other facets of their business that will keep their customers loyal," added Adkisson.

Some of the most popular apps designed for smart phones and tablets come from the team at Hitcents, a tech company based in Bowling Green.  The firm received attention earlier this year when it unveiled an iPad app called Hanx Writer that simulated a vintage typewriter. 

Now, they’ve customized the app for the smaller screen of the iPhone. 

Hitcents Graphic designer Ava Oliver says scaling down the design was a difficult task.

“I guess the biggest struggle is that the iPad was more the size of a typewriter – similar.  And then, the iPhone [is] much smaller,” said Oliver. “It was kind of interesting to make those keys small, still beautiful, and yet functional.”

Art director Joe Tudor and says the project was challenging, but rewarding.

“iPads are fun and interesting but they aren’t very portable,” said Tudor.  “Everyone has a phone and a device and it really serves as an extension of the app to get it in more people’s hands. So we’re really excited about the opportunity to let more people experience the app and experience the ‘typewriter feel’.”

 The iPad app proved popular when it was released this summer.  The design for the app is based on vintage typewriters from Tom Hanks’ personal collection.

Owensboro City Commissioners are throwing their support behind a plan to build a new processing plant at the city’s riverport.

At a meeting Tuesday night, commissioners praised the plan that would be financed by $25 million  of city issued bonds. The Messenger-Inquirer reports an ordinance authorizing the bonds will likely come up for a final vote next month.

Under the plan, a new milling facility would be built in partnership with Solvay Chemicals. While the city would issue the bonds used to pay for the project, the Riverport Authority would be responsible for repaying the cost of the bonds over ten years.

The estimated economic impact of the new processing facility is between $45 million and $65 million.

Kroger Stores to Sell Kentucky Proud Products

Nov 7, 2014

Farmers and small businesses participating in the Kentucky Proud program have landed new venues for their products at Kroger stores across the state.

State Agriculture Commissioner James Comer said Thursday that Kroger will sell 125 products from 34 Kentucky Proud producers. The products will be sold at 88 stores throughout Kentucky.

Comer said the initial purchase filled a 10,000-square-foot warehouse and totaled $350,000. He said that's a record for a single transaction in the history of Kentucky Proud.

Tim McGurk with Kroger's Louisville division says the chain's Kentucky stores have offered a variety of locally sourced products. But he says the partnership with Kentucky Proud is taking the "Buy Local" initiative to a new level.

At the Lexington announcement, Comer also showed two television commercials that will support the Kentucky Proud launch.

Seventy-eight Tennessee municipalities have passed a referendum for wine to be sold in supermarkets.

They collected enough signatures to place the referendum on the Tennessee ballot Tuesday. Final voting results show all the communities passed the measure.

Currently, wine can be sold only in liquor stores. Because of a state law passed earlier this year, wine can be sold by grocery and convenience stores starting in July 2016 in the communities where citizens vote for the change.

Supermarkets and convenience stores can sell beer containing up to 6.5 percent alcohol by volume. Anything stronger can be sold only in package stores, which, as of July 1, are able to sell items other than booze, such as beer, mixers, glasses, corkscrews, food and cigarettes.

The largest employer in western Kentucky's Hancock County is breaking ground on an expansion so that it can begin manufacturing aluminum sheet for vehicle bodies.

Aleris officials say the company hopes to start shipping the aluminum sheet by early 2017. The company's 1.6 million-square-foot mill in Lewisport employs about 800 people and has been open since 1964.

The Messenger-Inquirer reports Governor Steve Beshear and U.S. Representative Brett Guthrie were expected to attend Wednesday's groundbreaking for the $350 million expansion.

Beshear said in September when the expansion was announced that it was the single largest investment by a company in Kentucky in more than a year. He said Kentucky's aluminum industry added more than $2 billion to Kentucky's gross domestic product last year and accounts for more than 20,000 state jobs.

Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

Kentucky’s bourbon industry keeps growing by leaps and bounds.  Highly-anticipated numbers released Tuesday morning show the industry nearly doubled the number of jobs it supports in Kentucky, from just under 8,700 in 2012 to 15,400 this year. 

The study was conducted by the Kentucky Agriculture Development Fund and the Kentucky Distillers Association.

The study also shows the impact on the state’s agriculture industry. Bourbon makers buy 40 percent of the grain they use from Kentucky farmers, translating into 56 million in sales.  It also means 1,360 agriculture jobs are supported by the bourbon industry. 

The report also says Kentucky farmers have the capacity to provide up to 80 percent of the bourbon industry’s grains.

Kentucky will benefit from a $105 million national settlement with AT&T over fraudulent billing practices. 

The settlement resolves allegations that AT&T Mobility placed charges for third-party services on consumers’ mobile phone bills that had not been authorized by the consumer, a practice known as “mobile cramming.” 

Consumers who have been crammed often complain about charges for premium text message subscription services such as horoscopes, trivia, and sports scores that they have never heard of or requested.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Tax revenues and tourist spending were up during the summer at Lake Cumberland thanks to water levels that returned to normal after being down for several years.

Carolyn Mounce, the head of the Somerset-Pulaski Convention & Visitors Bureau, says marina operators were happy this season with the lake traffic.

The southern Kentucky lake's dam underwent major repairs beginning in 2007. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which operates Wolf Creek dam, lowered lake levels by 40 feet to ease pressure on the leaking structure. The repairs have since been completed.

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