It’s a good time to be in the bourbon business, especially in Kentucky.

The spirit earned $8.5 billion in economic output last year and created 17,500 jobs for the Bluegrass State, according to a joint economic study between the Kentucky Distillers’ Association and University of Louisville’s Urban Studies Institute.

Over the past two years, Kentucky distiller-related economic output increased $1-billion and added 2,000 jobs, the study found. (Economic output is the total value of all goods and services produced within Kentucky distilleries.)

Distiller employees earn a payroll of some $800 million, while the businesses provide $825 million in tax revenue, the study said.

Meanwhile, distillery businesses are investing more than $1.2 billion in renovations and new facilities.

As did his predecessor in past economic study announcements, Gov. Matt Bevin unveiled the findings at a press conference in Frankfort.

“The powerful growth of Kentucky’s Bourbon industry is a testament to our proud history of innovation, engineering and manufacturing,” Bevin said in a press release. “It is a genuine, home grown, only-in-Kentucky success story.”

 

Fred Minnick is the author of Bourbon: The Rise, Fall & Rebirth of An American Whiskey