Kentucky produces the majority of the world’s bourbon. Many people know that fact. In addition to the Commonwealth’s most popular spirit, the state also produces numerous other types of spirits. But, it isn’t always clear how the state’s output compares to the rest of the country. Even with bourbon as the clear majority of production, Kentucky is a spirits industry leader.
Kentucky Spirits Data
The primary data sources are distilledspirits.org and kybourbon.com. Population numbers come from census.gov. All data came from 2023 sources.
According to Distilled Spirits Council of the United States data, Kentucky has over 35,000 spirits-supported jobs. Furthermore, Kentucky creates nearly $14 million in spirits-based state economic activity. For a state with approximately 4.5 million residents, the Commonwealth is a stellar spirits industry performer.
Kentucky Spirits at a Glance
The following infographic shows elements of important industry data related to how Kentucky is a spirits industry leader. Of course bourbon is the star of the show, as Kentucky produces 95% of the world’s output. In fact, there are more barrels of bourbon stored in Kentucky rickhouses than there are people in the state.
But after the obvious bourbon stats, we should examine the state’s total spirit economic output. For example, the percentage of Kentuckians who are involved in spirits jobs is 0.78%, which is a number only bested by Delaware. The Commonwealth’s percentage of national economic activity is 9.58%, which is only surpassed by California. Despite Kentucky’s population rank of 26 among all US states, the Commonwealth outperforms nearly every other state in relation to the spirits industry.
California, New York, and Texas are states with very large populations relative to some other states, so they lead in total number of spirits supported jobs. But Kentucky’s per-capita output exceeds the latter two. Plus, it only falls under California’s rankings in a single case when using the data in the infographic. Again, Kentucky is a spirits industry leader.
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Disclaimer: This article relates to the business of spirits and Kentucky’s involvement in it and, as such, is not a promotion for the consumption of alcoholic beverages. If you decide to drink alcohol, please do so responsibly.