Study documents bourbon industry’s role in Kentucky economy

Kentucky Chamber President & CEO Dave Adkisson appeared along side of Gov. Steve Beshear and members of the Kentucky Distillers Association last week to announce the results of a new study documenting the signature industry’s role in boosting the Commonwealth’s economy.

The study, compiled by Paul Coomes, an economist at the University of Louisville, found a wave of capital investments in the last three years due to the growing global demand for Bourbon and the skyrocketing popularity of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail tourism attraction. Now exported to 126 different countries, Kentucky bourbon supports approximately 9,000 jobs in the state and a payroll of $413 million. Adkisson joined the governor in expressing the sentiment that it is time to repeal the ad valorem or “bourbon barrel” tax in Kentucky, the tax assessed each year on aging bourbon barrels in Kentucky warehouses.

“Now is the time for state government to nurture this new growth and to create a path for larger investments by our emerging and historic distilleries,” he said. “And that lies in tax reform to create a level playing field in the global marketplace. The ad valorem tax is a Kentucky-only tax that discriminates against our signature Bourbon industry, and it’s a tax that state government should give serious consideration to fixing,” he said. “We cannot keep putting our Bourbon industry over a barrel when it comes to global competition.”

As the governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Tax Reform looks into making Kentucky’s tax code more competitive, the Chamber will be fighting for the repeal of this burdensome inventory tax, to help one of Kentucky’s signature industries thrive.

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