For Immediate Release – December 22, 2020
FRANKFORT, Ky. – The Kentucky Distillers’ Association and its 42 members hailed the historic passage of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act by Congress overnight and other measures to help the Commonwealth’s signature Bourbon and distilled spirits industry.
“This has been a tough and trying year for so many, including our distilling community,” KDA President Eric Gregory said. “With the closure of bars and restaurants worldwide and the decimation of the tourism industry due to the pandemic, Kentucky’s distillers – both large and small – have struggled.
“In addition, ongoing trade wars and retaliatory tariffs have sliced Kentucky spirits exports by more than 30 percent after years of double-digit growth. All these issues have taken a toll our homegrown Bourbon industry, which is an $8.6 billion economic and tourism driver.
“We anxiously await the President’s signature – and pray for an end to the global pandemic – so we can get back to the business of crafting America’s only native spirit and ensure a bright future for the more than 20,000 hard-working Kentuckians employed by our iconic industry.”
Gregory said the permanent reduction of the federal excise tax under the bipartisan CBMTRA, instead of annual extensions that hindered growth and planning, will offer distillers certainty in long-range forecasting and a financial lifeline to maintain and create jobs.
Under the act, distillers will pay a reduced excise tax rate based on proof gallons produced each year.
Plus, Gregory said the permanent authorization of the AGED Spirits Act will allow distillers to deduct interest expenses in the year it is paid, rather than at the end of the lengthy aging process for Bourbon. This will free up important capital for investment and job creation.
The KDA also expressed gratitude that many of its Kentucky Bourbon Trail® tourism partners will now be eligible for forgivable loans under the Paycheck Protection Program and other much-needed stimulus measures to help one of Kentucky’s most important industries.
Gregory saluted the steadfast leadership of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Rep. John Yarmuth, chairman of the House Budget Committee, for shepherding through these bold initiatives and saving countless jobs.
“We appreciate and applaud their unwavering leadership, dedication and support,” he said.
He also thanked the strong support of Reps. Hal Rogers, Andy Barr, Brett Guthrie and Jamie Comer who voted for its passage to benefit all Kentuckians, especially the state’s craft distillers, farm families and tourism partners.
And, Gregory cheered industry colleagues and fellow associations that band together in good times and bad. “We are proud to be part of a global whiskey family that values camaraderie and friendship above competition,” he said. “Our heartfelt thanks to all who tirelessly advocated for this critical relief.”
Finally, Gregory said the KDA raises a glass to the thousands of men and women united behind Kentucky’s legendary Bourbon industry who took the time to personally advocate for these important issues. “We truly are stronger by working together than standing apart,” he said.
“We look forward to continued work with Congress and the Kentucky General Assembly to strengthen the Commonwealth’s rightful place as the one, true and authentic home for Bourbon and distilled spirits. We hope everyone has a safe, happy and healthy holiday season and celebrates with our fine spirits like a true Kentuckian – responsibly and in moderation.”
For more information, contact: Eric Gregory, KDA President, at [email protected].
Founded in 1880, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association is the legendary voice for Kentucky’s signature Bourbon and distilled spirits industry. Its diverse and growing membership produces the overwhelming majority of the world’s Bourbon, from historic, global brands to emerging micro distilleries that are fostering the next generation of the Commonwealth’s landmark economic engine and its thriving, timeless craft. Member benefits include media relations, international trade development, private sampling events, technical assistance, economic development support, networking, legal defense, marketing strategies, governmental and regulatory advocacy and innovative tourism experiences through the KDA’s world-famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® adventures. A 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization, the KDA maintains an open membership policy, champions a strong commitment to the responsible and moderate consumption of spirits, and fights to curb underage drinking and drunk driving. Learn more at www.kybourbon.com and www.kybourbontrail.com
KENTUCKY BOURBON TRAIL®, KENTUCKY BOURBON TRAIL CRAFT TOUR®, KENTUCKY BOURBON AFFAIR™, KBT®, BOURBON TRAIL™ and KENTUCKY BOURBON HALL OF FAME® are trademarks/service marks of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association. Make It Memorable – Enjoy Responsibly.