Shop Online

One Million Barrels of Kentucky Bourbon Filled in 2012

Bluegrass Distilleries Reach Mark For First Time in 40 Years

For Immediate Release – April 29, 2013

FRANKFORT, Ky. – For the first time since 1973, Kentucky’s iconic Bourbon distilleries produced one million barrels of amber nectar in 2012, offering further proof that the industry is enjoying a historic renaissance not seen in decades.


“This is an incredible milestone that’s been 40 years in the making,” said Eric Gregory, President of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association that promotes and protects the Commonwealth’s signature Bourbon industry.


“The Bourbon revolution is real and perfectly poised for a spirited future,” he said. “Our legendary distilleries are posting landmark production levels, investing millions in new facilities and experiencing double-digit growth in sales.


“Kentucky Bourbon is definitely on a roll.”


There were 1,007,703 barrels filled in 2012, the KDA announced today. The industry hasn’t created that much Bourbon since 1973 when 1,004,877 barrels were made that year. “A lot has changed since then,” Gregory said.


A gallon of gas in 1973 was 39 cents and a stamp was only eight cents. The Vietnam War ended, Secretariat won the Triple Crown, the U.S. Senate began Watergate hearings and “The Godfather” won the Academy Award for Best Picture.


Since 1999, Bourbon production has increased more than 120 percent, thanks in large part to the growing global demand for premium small batch and single barrel brands and the rebirth of the “cocktail culture,” Gregory said.


Today, there are more than 4.9 million barrels gently aging in Kentucky warehouses, the highest total inventory since 1977. That means there are more barrels of Bourbon aging in the Bluegrass than people (4.3 million) and horses (242,000) living in the Commonwealth.


In addition, more than 500,000 people last year visited the KDA’s Kentucky Bourbon Trail® distilleries, the first time that the world-renowned tourism attraction has broken the half-million mark since its inception in 1999.


The Kentucky Bourbon Trail® tour features seven distilleries, each offering a unique and educational experience on the art and craft of making the world’s finest Bourbon: Four Roses, Heaven Hill, Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Town Branch, Wild Turkey and Woodford Reserve.

The KDA, a non-profit trade association founded in 1880, is the state’s leading voice on spirits issues. Its members produce 90 percent of the world’s Bourbon and have invested more than $230 million in new facilities, equipment and tourism centers in the last two years alone.


Heritage members include Beam, Inc. (Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark); Brown-Forman Corp.; Diageo North America; Four Roses Distillery; Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc.; and Wild Turkey Distillery.


Craft distillery members include Alltech; Barrel House Distilling Co.; Corsair Artisan Distillery; Limestone Branch Distillery; MB Roland Distillery; The Old Pogue Distillery; Silver Trail Distillery; and Willett Distillery.


The Distilled Spirits Epicenter in Louisville is an educational distillery member.




For more information, contact KDA President Eric Gregory at (502) 875-9351.


Visit online at or KENTUCKY BOURBON TRAIL® and BOURBON TRAIL™ are trademarks/service marks of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association. The KDA and its members ask that you enjoy Kentucky Bourbon responsibly and in moderation, and never mix drinking and driving.