Great Lakes and Upper South in the News: "Kentucky bourbon trail buzzing with more than 1M visits" from the Detroit News
Louisville Ky. — Forget the bottle, a record number of people are experiencing Kentucky bourbon from the barrel, touring distilleries where they can sniff, sip and see whiskey crafted from the source.
Tourism in the heart of bourbon country, on the upswing for years, reached a milestone in 2016. Visitors made more than 1 million stops at distilleries along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour last year, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association said Wednesday.
It shows that “people don’t just want what’s in the bottle,” association president Eric Gregory said. “They have a thirst for Kentucky’s bourbon culture.”
Many tourists visit multiple distilleries and each stop is counted as a visit, the group said.
The tour started in 1999 and has ridden a wave of popularity as the bourbon and whiskey industries enjoyed growing sales worldwide, in part driven by higher demand for premium spirits and cocktails. The tourism attractions had double-digit attendance growth in 2016 compared with the prior year, and attendance has shot up 300 percent in the past decade, the group said.
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