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The Bourbon Boom

95% of the world’s supply of bourbon originates in Kentucky, and as of 2021, the number of bourbon barrels currently ageing in distillery warehouses across the state surpassed 10 million. In 2020 the industry also set new production records filling approximately 2.5 million bourbon barrels in a single year.

With bourbon production increasing by more than 360% since the turn of the century, Kentucky is often considered the natural birthplace of America’s only and official native spirit.

When discussing the achievements of the industry Eric Gregory, president of the Kentucky Distillers Association, highlighted that:

“Kentucky’s signature bourbon industry continues to invest in our commonwealth at unprecedented levels, despite global pandemic disruptions, exorbitant taxes and ongoing trade wars. This is truly a historic and landmark record.”

Within Kentucky, the bourbon industry is fast becoming a powerhouse and one of the state’s most historic and treasured industries; as an $8.6 billion economic engine, it generates more than 20,100 jobs with an annual payroll which surpasses $1 billion.

The increasing demand for Kentucky Bourbon means that distillers continue to invest in expanding production facilities and warehousing to satisfy the global thirst for the spirit.

“The bourbon industry is investing more than $5 billion in this state to increase production, build innovative tourism centres and create thousands of new jobs,” said Gregory.

The news comes from the report conducted by noted economist Paul Coomes and commissioned by the Kentucky Distillers’ Association.

Having reviewed the report, Gov. Andy Beshear and legislative leader said:

“Distilleries, jobs, wages, revenue, and investment are up triple digits across the board in the last 12 years. In turn, this amber wave has spurred more corn production, barrel cooperages and other supply-side manufacturers that are sustaining families and adding vibrancy to local communities.”

The report also highlights that the growth achieved so far by the Kentucky bourbon industry is not the end, suggesting that investments made between 2021-2025 will create 4,565 new jobs, $258 million in payroll and $29 million in tax revenue.

To build on this growth momentum, tax reform has been one of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce’s top priorities in the 2022 legislative session. Ashli Watts, President & CEO of the Chamber, has said that this includes final relief from the Kentucky barrel tax. With Kentucky being the only place in the world still taxing ageing barrels of spirits, industry leaders are concerned that the tariffs will hamper the industry’s overall growth trajectory.


“With so many beneficiaries of Bourbon’s success, why would we keep barrel taxes in place and leave additional growth on the table?” she said. “One sure way to encourage job creation and investment is to eliminate the burdensome barrel tax that shackles distilling’s growth.”

– Ashli Watts


DRAMS For Bourbon Producers


DRAMS has over 40 years of experience working in partnership with producers of distilled and aged spirits and has more than 10 years of experience providing software and services to the Bourbon Industry. 

Specifically designed to meet the needs of distilled and aged spirit producers, the core DRAMS solution enables users to accurately and efficiently manage the movement and maturation of their bulk spirit and barrel inventories.

DRAMS also provides a range of modules which can be used to extend the system functionality into several additional operational areas, including barrel scanning, empty wood inventory management, long-term inventory planning, advanced reporting, and dashboarding.

Access our Features Overview Guide here for a complete overview of the DRAMS solution and our modules.


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