Kentucky bourbon companies, which make up 95 percent of the world’s bourbon production, have seen a 150 percent increase in 15 years. That is astronomical. Last year, Kentucky distilleries filled 1.2 million barrels, and they currently have an inventory of five million barrels. 1977 was the last time inventory was that high. Just think about it–that is a gargantuan amount of bourbon. Yet, this is still not enough.
Companies report that the demand is just too high. The distillers want to sell more, but if you know anything about bourbon, you know it takes time to make it. Bourbon whiskey ages at a minimum of two years, but the average age distilled is four years. Due to the increase in sales, many of these companies have decided to take a risk; they are stepping up production and storing their largest stockpiles. In simpler terms, distillers are making the more of the supply before the orders come in.
They bet that the demand will continue to grow, and if it does–which it damn well should–the bourbon companies will have hit a home run. If not, then the “bourbon bubble” will burst.
While I love whiskey and I think the record high sales are amazing, I hope that the distillers keep going for quality over quantity. I know that is a lot to ask for, but as someone who falls into the original demographic of consumers (southern drinker) it would be nice to have our needs put first.
[via Associated Press]