By DAVID MATTINGLY | WAVE 3 News
Two years after it went into production, Shelbyville’s Bulleit Distillery is getting ready for a flood of thirsty tourists.
A new visitors center opens to the public next week, at a time when bourbon is winning thousands of new fans.
Sophie Kelly, Senior Vice President for Diageo, which owns Bulleit, praised bourbon as a key to success in the global whiskey market.
“It is number two to Canadian Crown Royal right now,” Kelly said. “What you really need to think about with bourbon is it has driven the growth in whiskeys the last five years.”
State tourism officials rank bourbon, with horse racing, at the top of the list of attractions when promoting the state abroad.
Local officials are anticipating 50,000 visitors a year to the new facility.
“It’s a billion dollar industry and the state gets $235 million in tax revenues,” Don Parkinson, Kentucky Tourism Secretary, said. “It’s a huge lift. It is so important.”
The Bulleit visitors center is just the latest outward sign that there is no end in sight to the bourbon boom, with 68 distilleries in 19 counties and more on the way.
For more information, including tours, visit their website.