Kentucky Bourbon Makes its Mark on State's Economy

LOUISVILLE, KY (AP) — A new study shows Kentucky's bourbon industry is making a bigger splash in the state's economy, nearly doubling its workforce in two years and leading a $3 billion distilling sector primed for another round of expansion.

         The report released Tuesday was done by the University of Louisville's Urban Studies Institute.

         The findings show the number of licensed distilling companies have tripled in the past two years from 10 to 31. That's the most distilleries in Kentucky since Prohibition ended. The bourbon sector's workforce now tops 15,400, up from 8,690 workers two years ago, the report said.

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         Distilling now contributes $3 billion in gross state product to Kentucky's economy every year, up from $1.8 billion two years ago.

         Gov. Steve Beshear says the industry's progress is "unrivaled and unparalleled."

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