Frankfort, KY (Feb. 6, 2023) – The world-famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail® experiences eclipsed two million in total attendance last year for the first time in its history, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association announced today.
The 2,135,555 total visits easily shattered its previous record of 1.7 million stops in 2019, a 38% increase. In the last 10 years, the amber adventure has skyrocketed by a phenomenal 370% in attendance.
The KDA created the KBT® in 1999 to give visitors an intimate, educational look behind the state’s most historic distilleries. Total attendance through its 18 participating distilleries last year was 1,397,268.
The Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® launched in 2012 as the first excursion in the country to showcase smaller distilleries. Now featuring 24 distilleries, its total attendance last year was 738,287.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear congratulated the KDA and members of the state’s signature Bourbon and distilling industry on their focus and success.
“It’s incredible to see attendance for the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® reach an all-time high in 2022, the same year this signature industry saw record-breaking investments and job growth,” Gov. Beshear said.
“The success of Kentucky’s Bourbon industry isn’t slowing down any time soon, and I am grateful to KDA, the distilleries, our tourism partners and all the amazing Kentuckians who work hard to make this industry so special.”
KDA President Eric Gregory said KBT® and KBTCT experiences are an integral part of local and state tourism efforts. Research shows Bourbon tourists trend younger, spend between $400 and $1,200 on their trip, travel in large groups and stay longer than the average visitor to Kentucky.
More than 70% of visitors are from outside Kentucky, he said, and nearly half have household incomes over $100,000. “This is a home run demographic for local communities, generating valuable revenue and tax dollars while boosting a hospitality industry that’s still recovering from the COVID pandemic.”
Secretary Mike Berry of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet said, “Bourbon is a key driver for tourism in Kentucky, drawing visitors from around the world to our Commonwealth. In a post-pandemic environment, travelers are thirsty for our native spirit and all the exciting opportunities tourism has to offer.
“We celebrate this good news and look forward to welcoming even more guests to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail tours.”
Founded in 1880, the KDA is the voice for Bourbon and spirits issues. Its diverse membership produces the overwhelming majority of the world’s Bourbon, from legendary, global brands to emerging micro distilleries that are building the next generation of America’s only native spirit.