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National Bourbon Day | Celebrating tourism, distillery expansions within Kentucky

Four Roses said they are expanding with 17 new warehouses, Bardstown Bourbon Co. received money to expand and Heaven Hill just broke ground on their new expansion.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Given Kentucky is known as Bourbon Country, it's only fitting to celebrate what makes the spirit so special on National Bourbon Day.

First things first: What is bourbon?

Bourbon has to be produced in the United States and made from a grain mixture that's at least 51% corn. Next it gets aged in new charred oak barrels, distilled to no more than 160 proof and bottled at 80 proof or more.

It's also critical in some popular drinks like the Old Fashioned and the Kentucky Derby favorite, the Mint Julep.

There are nearly 70 distilleries throughout the commonwealth and most offer tastings and tours.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear is proud of the businesses and what this means for Kentucky.

"This type of tourism was not only booming before COVID, but has picked up to an incredible degree. We're seeing more visitors to Kentucky every year and a whole lot of them are staying. This means more tourism dollars, more dollars going into the bourbon industry, but it also means more people get introduced to Team Kentucky and decide they want to stay and be a part of it," he said.

Now there are expansions on the horizon. Four Roses said they are expanding with 17 new warehouses, Bardstown Bourbon Co. received money to expand and Heaven Hill just broke ground on their new expansion in Bardstown.

And, Angel's Envy just unveiled their completed expansion in downtown Louisville Tuesday to commemorate National Bourbon Day. 

The $8.2 million expansion added more than 13,000 square feet to the distillery on East Main.

It includes new tasting rooms, double the retail space and the option for guests to bottle their own bourbon. It also created 20 more jobs at the distillery.

"We were turning away as many people as we had coming to our distillery, so being all about hospitality, we really wanted to make sure that we could teach people about bourbon and that's what we do best," said General Manager Gigi DaDan.

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