bourbon

Beam Suntory Building New Craft Distillery in Kentucky

Jul 25, 2019
Jim Beam

The company behind the world's top-selling bourbon, Jim Beam, is pouring tens of millions of dollars into a new Kentucky distillery to boost production of craft whiskeys.

Beam Suntory executives broke ground Thursday for the production facility at their flagship bourbon distilling operation in Clermont. It's part of a $60 million investment that includes raising Beam's profile by upgrading the "visitors' experience" at Clermont as bourbon tourism grows.

The company is looking to build on the momentum for its super-premium craft brands, which have experienced double-digit yearly growth. The bulk of sales are in the U.S.

Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet

As nearly 10,000 people descended on the small town of Owenton, Kentucky, for the annual county fair earlier this month, so too did the miles-long bourbon plume leftover from the fire at the Jim Beam warehouse upriver from the drinking water supply.

In the wake of the bourbon spill, thousands of fish died as dissolved oxygen levels plummeted in the Kentucky River.

But when Owen County residents turned on their taps, nothing but cool clean water came out.

Stu Johnson/WEKU

Authorities say Jim Beam will be fined for the warehouse fire that contaminated nearby waters with bourbon and killed fish.

Kentucky's Energy and Environment Cabinet spokesman John Mura tells WKYT-TV that there will be a penalty. He says the state Department of Fish & Wildlife may also fine the company. The cost of the fines was unclear as of Wednesday.

A lightning strike set the Woodford County warehouse on fire last week and destroyed about 45,000 barrels of bourbon. The site burned for days and runoff filled with alcohol and firefighting chemicals bled into nearby rivers and creeks, removing oxygen from the water and killing fish.

Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet

A massive slug of Jim Beam bourbon from last week’s warehouse fire entered the Ohio River on Monday after traveling more than 20 miles down the Kentucky River, according to the latest from Kentucky’s Energy and Environment Cabinet.

The plume is expected to hug the shoreline and dilute as it enters the Ohio River where it could continue to pose a limited threat to fish and other aquatic life, said John Mura, cabinet spokesman.

“The plume, which is about 23 miles long, entered the Ohio River very early this morning and began dissipating,” Mura said.

Stu Johnson/WEKU

The fire that destroyed a massive Jim Beam warehouse filled with aging bourbon in Kentucky continued to burn Thursday as officials said the decision on whether to extinguish is still a day or two away.

Woodford County Emergency Management Director Drew Chandler said in a telephone interview the only thing left burning is ethanol fumes. Officials believe letting the fumes burn will have less environmental impact than spraying the fire with water, which could wash the bourbon into a nearby creek that flows into the Kentucky River.

Thousands of Barrels of Jim Beam Bourbon Burn in Kentucky

Jul 3, 2019
Jim Beam

Firefighters in Kentucky are trying to extinguish a burning Jim Beam warehouse filled with about 45,000 barrels of bourbon.

Woodford County Emergency Management Director Drew Chandler tells WKYT-TV that two barrel warehouses caught fire late Tuesday. Crews were able to put one out, but the other kept burning for hours.

Chandler says it may have been caused by lightning.

Dueling Grounds Distillery

The Kentucky Distillers Association has added four distilleries to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour, bringing the total to 20.

Those 20 distilleries are now grouped into four regions across the state and the distillers association has added incentives, including collectible coins and a tasting glass, to encourage visiters to stop at all the sites on the Craft Tour.

Those four distilleries new on the Craft Tour are Dueling Grounds in Franklin, Casey Jones in Hopkinsville, Boundary Oak in Radcliff and Second Sight in northern Kentucky.

Dueling Grounds founding owner Marc Dottore said being on the Bourbon Trail Craft Tour is important for his distillery.


O.Z. Tyler Distillery

Part of a bourbon warehouse in Daviess County collapsed during a thunderstorm.

The partial collapse of the O.Z. Tyler Distillery rickhouse in Owensboro was reported early Monday.

Master Distiller Jacob Call says around 20,000 barrels are stored at the location and it appears that about 4,000 were affected. He says it appears most barrels remain intact.

Call says engineers will be out later Monday to try to determine what caused the collapse. It's unclear if weather played a role.

Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

A part of Kentucky already known for its whiskey production is gaining another distillery.

A startup company, Log Still Distilling LLC, says it will invest $12 million into a new bourbon and rye whiskey operation that could produce up to 20 full-time jobs.

The company formally announced Friday plans to create a campus between the communities of New Haven and New Hope that would include a distillery, bottling operation, rickhouses, and a visitor’s center, which will offer a gift shop and tasting room.

Construction is scheduled to begin later this year, with the facilities opening by the end of 2020.


Casey Jones Distillery

The Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour is welcoming its 20th member.

Casey Jones Distillery in Hopkinsville has been added to the craft tour, which is made up of smaller boutique distilleries across the commonwealth.

Casey Jones President Peg Hays says while her distillery is known for making moonshine, it will also soon sell Kentucky’s signature spirit.

“Actually, we are making bourbon now, and we have bourbon laid up in barrels and racks, and we’ll be having our first bottling and we’ll have it on the market this December.”

American Distillers Welcome End of Tariffs in Canada, Mexico

May 20, 2019
Kevin Willis

American whiskey producers feeling the pain from the Trump administration's trade disputes have gotten a shot of relief with an agreement that will end retaliatory tariffs that Canada and Mexico slapped on whiskey and other U.S. products.

The whiskey industry hailed the arrangement to ease trade tensions among the North American allies and said it hopes it's the first of several rounds of good news on the trade front. Distillers have suffered shrinking exports since the last half of 2018 due to tariffs in some key markets.

Export Slump Deepens for American Whiskey Producers

Mar 21, 2019
Kevin Willis

For American whiskey producers, their tariff-induced hangover became more painful in late 2018 when a downturn in exports accelerated, especially in the European Union — the industry's biggest overseas market, an industry trade group said Thursday.

Overall exports of bourbon, Tennessee whiskey and rye whiskey fell 11 percent during the second half of 2018 compared to the prior-year six-month period as the impact of tariffs started to be felt, the Distilled Spirits Council said in a new report.

Last month, the council released an annual report that showed American whiskey exports had declined by 8.2 percent between July and November of 2018 compared to the prior-year period. But the report did not include December export figures.

Abbey Oldham

On Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts released a list of 50 individuals charged in a nationwide college admissions cheating and recruitment scheme —  and one of them has a tie to Kentucky’s bourbon industry.

According to a massive federal indictment, those listed include parents, sports coaches and college preparatory program executives who all were involved in some form of college bribery — ranging from bribing entrance exam officials to facilitate cheating on standardized tests to paying varsity coaches or administrators to designate certain applicants as recruited athletes (regardless of athletic ability).

Tariffs Take Toll on U.S. Whiskey Exports in Last Half of 2018

Feb 12, 2019
Abbey Oldham

Retaliatory tariffs caused a sharp downturn in American whiskey exports in the last half of 2018 as distillers started feeling the pain from global trade disputes, an industry trade group said Tuesday.

Exports to some key overseas markets gyrated wildly last year for producers of bourbon, Tennessee whiskey and rye whiskey. Overall, U.S. spirits exports in 2018 stayed on another record-setting trajectory, due in part to surging whiskey sales in the months leading up to the tariffs as larger distillers stockpiled supplies, the Distilled Spirits Council said. Other categories including vodka, brandy and rum also had strong overseas sales.

Kevin Willis

Kentucky distilleries are reporting another record year for bourbon tourism in the state that produces most of the world's bourbon.

The Kentucky Distillers' Association says tourists made a record 1.4 million stops at distilleries along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour in 2018. KDA says that represents a 370 percent increase in the past decade.

KDA says the Kentucky Bourbon Trail logged 1 million visits for the first time since its creation in 1999. It says the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour — which includes smaller distilleries — tallied 340,000 distillery stops, the most since its founding in 2012.

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