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KET to Air Documentary on Nunn Center’s ‘Kentucky Bourbon Tales’

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 15, 2014) – Bourbon is booming in Kentucky and around the world. In the last two years alone, the number of distilleries has tripled, and the number of people employed in the industry has nearly doubled. Currently, there are more barrels of bourbon aging in Kentucky than there are citizens in the Commonwealth.

A new documentary, “Kentucky Bourbon Tales: Distilling the Family Business,” drawn from oral history interviews conducted by the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, introduces viewers to the colorful characters who craft Kentucky’s signature spirit.

The program, which also explains the science and art behind the bourbon-making process and details how the beverage became a global phenomenon, will first air 9 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 16, on KET, and again 9 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 21, on KET2. The program will air several more times this month, to see a list of those times visit KET online here.

In partnership with the Kentucky Distillers’ Association (KDA), “Kentucky Bourbon Tales” is part of a multi-year effort by the Nunn Center in the UK Libraries to document the history of bourbon in the state, and features the stories of the Master Distillers and Bourbon Barons from iconic distilleries that participate in the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® tour, including Wild Turkey, Heaven Hill, Brown-Forman, Woodford Reserve, Bulleit, Maker’s Mark, Four Roses and Jim Beam, as well as the new Michter’s Distillery and Independent Stave Cooperage.

“The bourbon industry plays a major role in Kentucky’s social, cultural and commercial history, especially from the global perspective. This documentary captures the essence of Kentucky bourbon’s recent history and renaissance, and promises to both educate and entertain,” said Nunn Center Director Doug Boyd.

“Kentucky Bourbon Tales: Distilling the Family Business” was directed by Joanna Hay and produced by the Nunn Center. The archived oral history interviews can be accessed in their entirety via the Nunn Center’s online catalog, and the project’s website,, features more than 175 video excerpts from the oral history project.

“Kentucky Bourbon Tales” is made possible through the support of the KDA and its member distilleries. The nonprofit organization, which traces its roots back to 1880, is a leading international voice on bourbon and distilled spirits issues.

In 1999, the KDA created the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® experience, which has quickly become one of the state’s most famous and fastest-growing tourism attractions. More than 2.5 million people — from all 50 states and more than 50 countries — have visited the state’s legendary distilleries in the last five years alone.

KET is Kentucky’s largest classroom, serving more than one million people each week via television, online and mobile. Learn more about Kentucky’s preeminent public media organization at

Part of the UK Special Collections Research Center at UK Libraries, the Nunn Center has collected more than 9,000 oral history interviews documenting various aspects of history including Appalachia, public policy, civil rights, agriculture, African American history, women, religion, the arts, education, culture, the history of UK, sports, healthcare and veterans, as well as industries such as coal, equine and Kentucky’s
bourbon industry.


Since its founding in 1865, the University of Kentucky has been dedicated to improving people’s lives through excellence in education, research and creative work, service, and health care as Kentucky’s flagship institution and one of the nation’s top land grant universities. Please join us in celebrating the university’s 150 year storied history and help us build on that tradition of success as part of UK’s sesquicentennial celebration through 2015. Visit to access UK sesquicentennial news, in addition to archived news stories and announcements. Keep up with UK sesquicentennial activities on social media by looking for #UK150.

The Kentucky Bourbon Trail®, Bourbon Trail™ and Kentucky Bourbon Tales™ are trademarks/service marks of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association. Go to and for more information. The KDA and its members ask that you enjoy Kentucky Bourbon responsibly and in moderation, and never mix drinking and driving.
MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, UK Public Relations, 859-257-8716