POLITICS/BUSINESS: State and local budget problems, revenue from alcohol, distilleries: "Budget Problems? Kentucky and Elsewhere Find Answer in Bottle" ....
* New York Times: "Budget Problems? Kentucky and Elsewhere Find Answer in Bottle" - From the NYT:
LAWRENCEBURG, Ky. — Alcohol may not be single-handedly saving state and local budgets from the red, but it is certainly helping. Consider Kentucky. Coal mines in parts of the state are struggling to stay open, but here among the gently rolling hills of horse country, bourbon is booming. At the Wild Turkey plant, a new bourbon distillery is rising, the first built from the ground up here since Prohibition. Visits to the company’s tasting room, where guests can sip bourbon and gaze into a gorgeous valley, have doubled in the past few years.
The company paid over $778,000 in real estate and property taxes to Anderson County this year, twice what it paid in 2010, making it the biggest taxpayer by far. “We’re lucky to have them,” said Brian Stivers, the property valuation administrator for the county. “Without their expansions we would have probably had to raise the tax rate.”
While Kentucky has enjoyed a special upswing from bourbon, across the country, changing consumer tastes and changes to state regulatory and tax policies have created a bull market in booze-related businesses.
From Colorado to southwestern Michigan to the District of Columbia, craft beer, a small but rapidly growing segment of the beer market, continues to expand. Distilleries, benefiting from changes in regulation, are growing in nearly every state. The farming of hops, once largely a small crop limited to a few Western states, is also on the rise.
Spirits revenue nationwide — from all alcohol except beer and wine — increased to over $60 billion last year from roughly half that in 2000, according to the Distilled Spirits Council. Exports of spirits, much of it whiskey, have increased to nearly $1.5 billion from $531 million over that same time.
The growth of many segments of the alcohol business reflects consuming trends that have dominated the marketplace for the past several years. A fixation on local products, a nostalgia for American traditional food ways and a lust for upscale everything — from a $5 cup of coffee to $10-a-pound organic chicken — have now reached single-barrel $100-a-bottle bourbon.
Further, the resurgence of classic cocktails has fueled the whiskey industry. . . . . . .
No state has benefited quite like Kentucky..................................