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Issue 134 - Success Comes With Age

Whisky Magazine Issue 134
March 2016


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Success Comes With Age

US whiskey experiences unprecedented popularity

In the past year, the industry has reported receiving more than one million visitors at Kentucky distilleries. To put this into perspective, the Kentucky Bourbon Trail didn't even exist until 1996 and only Maker's Mark really offered a visitors experience before then.

On the sales front, Bourbon, Tennessee whiskey and Rye increased 7.8 per cent in overall sales, according to a recent Distilled Spirits Industry Council report, with a large chunk going to the export markets. As trade tariffs are lifted and producers concentrate on foreign lands, exports will grow. The top export markets were United Kingdom ($226.1 million USD), Canada ($194.7 million USD), Germany ($128.5 million USD), Australia ($126.1 million USD), Japan ($108.3 million USD) and France ($84.1 million USD).

Last year, the Kentucky Distillers Association reported a 40 year barrel high with 5,669,682 million charred oak casks ageing in Bluegrass warehouses, the highest number since 1975. That's when the 5.8 million barrels were in Kentucky. But white spirits, inflation and poor business decisions knocked Bourbon off its pedestal, and it fell to the bottom shelf.

From 1980 to 2000, Bourbon sales were on life support, but passion, good whiskey and the consumer's organic pull brought Bourbon back. And now, here we are: It's so damn popular we can no longer find once everyday Bourbons such as Weller 12 Years Old; and we must wait in long lines to grab a bottle of Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch; and we m...

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