April 6, 2016

Spirits soar: Exports of adult beverages place Kentucky 4th nationally as vodka carves its niche

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While best known worldwide for its bourbon, Kentucky’s vodka exports in 2015 increased by nearly 87 percent over the prior year, making the largest jump of any product in the spirits category.

Distillers exported $12.3 million in vodka, up from $6.6 million in 2014. However, bourbon and rye – constituents of the larger whiskey category – hold the volume crown with more than $310.6 million exported, an increase of more than $9.2 million from 2014.

Global appetite for Kentucky-made spirits overall in 2015 grew to $409 million, an increase of nearly $10.4 million compared to the year prior, according to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Division and WISERTrade.

The state’s spirits industry exported to 100 countries last year. Kentucky ranked first nationally in liqueurs and cordials exporting in 2015 with close to $35.4 million in products shipped around the world. The Commonwealth ranked second among U.S. states in the whiskey subcategory and fourth in spirits overall.

The upward trend in distilled drinks mirrored Kentucky’s total goods-and-services export roster, which increased slightly in 2015 to a state record $27.6 billion, up from $27.5 billion in 2014, even as exports declined nationally.

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