For Immediate Release – December 15, 2022
FRANKFORT, Ky. – The Kentucky Travel Industry Association recently honored the Kentucky Distillers’ Association with its prestigious “Award of Distinction” for the KDA’s Kentucky Bourbon Benefit auction that raised $3.4 million for tornado relief efforts in Western Kentucky.
The auction also earned a gold-level honor in the community support and engagement category at the KTIA’s annual Traverse Awards for Excellence in Kentucky Tourism, which are judged by out-of-state tourism leaders.
Mandy Ryan, director of the KDA’s Kentucky Bourbon Trail® experiences, said the non-profit group is humbled to receive the recognition. Founded in 1880, the KDA promotes, protects and enhances the Commonwealth’s signature Bourbon and distilled spirits industry.
“It was amazing to see first-hand how our member distillers stepped up and helped fellow Kentuckians in times of need,” Ryan said. “It is our duty as a signature industry and as a tourism attraction that gives back to the community.”
KTIA President & CEO Hank Phillips said this year’s Traverse Awards were marked by comments from the judges about the exceptional quality of entries across the board. Tourism is an $8 billion industry in Kentucky.
“As tourism in Kentucky continues its recovery, it is apparent that the industry is stepping up with creative and results oriented strategies for capturing prospective visitors’ attention and ultimately their decisions to visit the Commonwealth,” Phillips said.
The awards were presented during the 2022 Kentucky Travel Industry Annual Conference, held Nov. 9-11 at the Griffin Gate Marriott Golf Resort & Spa in Lexington. To see all winners, click here.
Kentucky travel and tourism businesses and marketing organizations vie for Traverse Awards in 11 categories. The Traverse Awards are judged by a panel of out-of-state travel and tourism industry experts.
Only five of 160 entries received the “Award of Distinction.” Only three achieved gold-level status in the community support and engagement category. Award criteria include concept, creativity, results and impact.
ABOUT THE KENTUCKY BOURBON BENEFIT
In December 2021, a rare band of winter tornadoes ripped through Western Kentucky, decimating communities in 11 counties, causing over $3.5 billion in damages and killing more than 50 Kentuckians.
The KDA immediately partnered with the Bourbon Crusaders charitable organization, Bourbon curator Fred Minnick and retailer Westport Whiskey & Wine on a six-day auction of rare bottles, private barrel selections, exclusive experiences and more to raise funds for the rebuilding effort.
A total of 5,158 bidders vied for the benefit auction’s 429 lots. Bidders came from all 50 states, Washington D.C. and as far away as Puerto Rico and Guam. Kentucky, by far, led the way with nearly 1,000 registered bidders.
The goal was to raise $1 million. All told, the fundraiser raised $3.4 million to the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund, which Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said was the largest single donation to the effort.
The KDA and its partners held a similar auction in August 2022 and raised nearly $1.5 million for flood relief in Eastern Kentucky. More than 10 inches of rain fell across the area in five days, causing catastrophic damage and killing more than 40 Kentuckians.
ABOUT KENTUCKY TRAVEL INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION
The Kentucky Travel Industry Association (KTIA) represents and serves all segments of Kentucky’s tourism industry, which despite the pandemic’s severe impact, contributed $11.2 billion to Kentucky’s economy in 2021. The nearly 1000-member association engages in advocacy and provides its members with education, information and business development opportunities. The association also works to inform the public of the enormous economic, employment and tax revenue contributions tourism makes to the people of Kentucky.
For more information about KTIA, contact President & CEO Hank Phillips at 502-223-8687 or [email protected].
ABOUT KENTUCKY DISTILLERS’ ASSOCIATION
Founded in 1880, the KDA is the voice for Bourbon and spirits issues. Its diverse membership produces the overwhelming majority of the world’s Bourbon, from legendary, global brands to emerging micro distilleries that are building the next generation of the timeless craft.
Kentucky Bourbon is one of the Commonwealth’s most historic industries, a thriving $9 billion economic and tourism engine that sustains more than 22,500 jobs with a payroll topping $1.23 billion each year.
A key export, the iconic industry is currently in the middle of a $5.2 billion building boom, from innovative new tourism experiences to expanded production facilities, bottling centers and aging warehouses, all to meet the growing global thirst for Kentucky Bourbon.
Bourbon production has skyrocketed more than 475% since the turn of the century.
Kentucky now boasts more than 11.4 million barrels of Bourbon aging in warehouses across the Bluegrass, the most in its revered distilling history. Distillers filled more than 2.6 million barrels last year alone, the fourth year in a row that production topped the 2 million mark.
The KDA recently announced 2022 is on track for the highest visitation year in the KBT’s history. Due to the rise in Bourbon tourism and a growing demand for authentic curated experiences, many of Kentucky’s distilleries are asking visitors to book their tours in advance.
To support their efforts and ensure whiskey lovers from around the world can fully immerse themselves in all that Kentucky’s distilleries offer, the KDA launched a campaign asking people to “Book Now, Bourbon Later.” Click here to read more.
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For more information about the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® Experiences, contact Mandy Ryan at [email protected].
The Kentucky Distillers’ Association is a 501(c)(6) non-profit trade association that passionately unites, promotes, protects and elevates the Commonwealth’s signature Bourbon and distilled spirits industry. 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™, KENTUCKY BOURBON HALL OF FAME®,, ORDER OF THE WRIT®,, KENTUCKY BOURBON TALES®,, KENTUCKY BOURBON TRAIL WELCOME CENTER®,, URBAN BOURBON TRAIL® and THE PROOF IS HERE®are trademarks/service marks of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association.
Please enjoy Bourbon like a true Kentuckian – Responsibly.