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Congressman Andy Barr

Representing All the People of Kentucky's Sixth District

Senators McConnell, Paul and Congressman Barr Reintroduce Bourbon Bill

Feb 17, 2017
Press Release
Measure would ‘level the playing field’ for Bourbon producers

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) and Congressman Andy Barr (KY-06) reintroduced legislation today which corrects a provision in the tax code to ensure that Kentucky’s Bourbon producers are no longer at a disadvantage with their global competitors. 

The Advancing Growth in the Economy through Distilled (AGED) Spirits Act in the U.S. Senate and the Aged Distilled Spirits Competitiveness Act in the House of Representatives would permit Bourbon producers to deduct interest expense associated with the production of Bourbon in the year it is paid. It does this by exempting the natural aging process in the determination of the production period for distilled spirits.

Under current law, interest expenses are not deducted until the Bourbon is bottled and sold, which could be anywhere from 2 to 23 years after aging. This situation has been likened to a homeowner not being able to deduct the interest on a home mortgage until the sale of the house.

Senator McConnell said, “The AGED Spirits Act is a pro-growth measure that will help level the playing field between Kentucky’s Bourbon industry and its competitors abroad, while providing a boost to our home-state economy. This bill would benefit thousands of hard-working Kentuckians who have contributed to one of the Commonwealth’s signature industries and helped make Kentucky the Bourbon Capital of the World.  As recent studies have shown, the industry has grown and thrived, and I am sure it will continue to do so thanks to the many Kentuckians working in our distilleries and in other Bourbon-related jobs.”

Senator Paul said, “The Advancing Growth in the Economy through Distilled Spirits Act will preserve Kentucky’s signature Bourbon industry by boosting job creation and establishing a level playing field between Bourbon and whiskey producers at home and their competitors abroad.”

Congressman Barr said, “This bill is a commonsense fix which would end the discrimination of Bourbon and other aged spirits for tax purposes, helping support jobs for Kentucky families and our local economy. I appreciate working with Leader McConnell and Senator Paul on this needed reform to support a signature Kentucky industry.”

Eric Gregory, President, Kentucky Distillers’ Association, said, “We applaud the leadership of Senator McConnell, Senator Paul, and Congressman Barr for working to eliminate restrictive tax policies that are holding Kentucky Bourbon back. Unlike most spirits, it takes years for Kentucky Bourbon to age before it can be appreciated. The AGED Spirits Act will free important capital on aging barrels, allowing distilleries to increase investments and create more jobs. This is a vital solution that will level the playing field for our signature industry as it competes in the global marketplace. We thank and appreciate the longtime support of Senator McConnell, Senator Paul, and Congressman Barr and look forward to working with them to promote and protect our timeless craft."

Mark Brown, President and CEO, Sazerac, said, “On behalf of the more than 2,200 employees at Sazerac, particularly the 1,300 at our three Kentucky distilleries – Buffalo Trace, Barton 1792 and Glenmore -- I want to thank Senator McConnell, Senator Paul, and Congressman Andy Barr for filing the AGED Spirits Act. This will help lift the unfair burden that impacts manufacturers of Bourbon, Kentucky’s native spirit. Tearing down these discriminatory barriers will allow all Bourbon distillers to reinvest in their facilities and their employees. Sazerac is already investing more than $100 million in our three Kentucky distilleries and have more than $100 million in development projects around the country. We commend Senator McConnell, Senator Paul, and Congressman Andy Barr for their consistent support of our Bourbon industry.”

Kentucky produces 95 percent of the world’s Bourbon supply.  According to a recent economic study released last week, Kentucky Bourbon contributes $8.5 billion to Kentucky’s economy each year and supports over 17,500 jobs in Kentucky. 

The House bill is also cosponsored by Congressmen James Comer (KY-01), Brett Guthrie (KY-02), Thomas Massie (KY-04) and Hal Rogers (KY-05).