Adam Johnson, Senior Director of the KDA’s KBT™ experiences, said Northern Kentucky is home to five burgeoning craft distilleries and a major corridor for thousands of Bourbon visitors looking to sample the state’s signature spirit.
“This charming, thriving region showcases an exceptional mix of Bourbon history and urban innovation,” Johnson said. “This partnership is a great way to capture the energy this region is generating not only in new distilleries but in bars, restaurants and events.”
The area already boasts three stops on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour — New Riff Distilling in Newport; Boone County Distilling near Independence; and Old Pogue Distillery in Maysville – as well as Second Sight Distillery in Ludlow and Neeley Family Distillery in Sparta.
In addition, the region features many popular venues including Newport on Levee, a vibrant waterfront dining and entertainment district, and Riverfront Commons, an 11.5-mile biking & walking trail that links all of the region’s river cities.
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“The entire Northern Kentucky region celebrates the designation and looks forward to introducing even more visitors to their first taste of the Commonwealth’s unbridled spirit,” she said.
As an official “Gateway” sponsor, the region will receive prominent placement on the KBT™ website (www.kybourbontrail.com) and marketing materials, including recommended itineraries, signage and more. Louisville also is a “Gateway” level sponsor of the KBT.
Kirkpatrick said that with the area’s access at CVG International Airport, I-75 and I-71, many more visitors can engage in Kentucky’s own brand of hospitality and spirits as well as enjoy a unique Northern Kentucky experience.
And, with new Wow Airlines international air service starting at CVG International Airport in 2018, Northern Kentucky will be a gateway for more European visitors to experience Kentucky Bourbon.
Kentucky Bourbon is one of the Commonwealth’s most historic and treasured industries, a booming $8.5 billion economic engine that generates as many as 17,500 jobs with an annual payroll topping $800 million, and pours $825 million into tax coffers each year.
In addition, the industry is in the middle of a $1.2 billion building boom, from innovative new tourism centers to expanded production facilities, all to meet the growing global thirst for Kentucky Bourbon.
There are now 39 companies operating 52 distilleries in the Commonwealth making 6.8 million barrels of aging Bourbon – all modern records. Distillers also paid a record $19.2 million this year in barrel taxes that fund critical local programs such as education, public safety and health.
The KDA’s famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour also made history last year, with tourists making a record one million stops at 20 participating distilleries. Attendance has skyrocketed by 300 percent in the last 10 years.
KDA President Eric Gregory applauded Northern Kentucky’s longstanding support and said the new gateway designation will provide a warm and hospitable welcome to guests entering the Commonwealth.
Gregory noted the area hosts more than six million visitors a year at CVG International Airport and more than 70 million vehicles cross the Ohio River annually. “Bourbon tourism is sure to rise thanks to the united efforts of the KDA and our partners in Northern Kentucky,” he said.
“We’re proud to welcome our Northern Kentucky friends as an official sponsor and gateway to the KDA’s Kentucky Bourbon Trail tours, and we look forward to promoting their many amenities to Bourbon lovers around the world.”