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New Riff Distillery meets inventory requirements, advances to KDA ‘Proof’ level membership

The Kentucky Distillers’ Association has announced that New Riff Distillery has met the inventory requirements to advance to “Proof” level membership, the second-highest tier.

“Proof” level membership is reserved for established licensed distilleries that maintain an inventory between 10,000 and 25,000 barrels of distilled spirits.

Located in Newport at 24 Distillery Way, New Riff is the creation of Ken Lewis, former president of the Wine and Spirits Guild of America and former owner of The Party Source, one of the country’s largest and most prominent retail package stores.

New Riff offers free on-site tours and educational programs, as well as an event center and rooftop garden for meetings and private gatherings. A main architectural attraction is the gleaming all-copper, 60-foot column still encased in glass.

New Riff joined the KDA in 2014. The distillery joins Alltech’s Town Branch Distillery in Lexington as the KDA’s two Proof level members.

“Kentucky Bourbon is the ‘gold standard’ of American whiskey, sought after around the world,” said Lewis. “The KDA is also the ‘gold standard’ of associations, working with and protecting Kentucky distilleries large and small. “I have always been impressed by the forward-thinking staff and the non-competitive mentoring of the more established and larger distilleries to young distilleries who are now growing up and joining their ranks in making world-class whiskey that has put Kentucky on the world map – not just for great whiskey but for the tourism industry as well.”

Founded in 1880, the KDA is the state’s voice for Bourbon and spirits issues. Its diverse membership produces the overwhelming majority of the world’s Bourbon, from legendary, global brands to emerging micro distilleries that are building the next generation of the timeless craft.

Kentucky Bourbon is one of the Commonwealth’s most historic and treasured industries, a booming $8.6 billion economic engine that generates more than 20,100 jobs with an annual payroll topping $1 billion million each year.

In addition, the industry is in the middle of a $2.3 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 nearly 10 million barrels of Bourbon and other spirits aging in Kentucky warehouses, the highest number in the modern era of American Whiskey. Of that, 9.3 million are just Bourbon, the first time since 1967 that the number of Bourbon barrels topped nine million.

Bourbon production has skyrocketed more than 360 percent since the turn of the century, with Kentucky distillers filling 2.1 million barrels in 2019, the second year in a row that Kentucky distillers have filled two million barrels, the first time that’s happened in the modern era.

Attendance at the KDA’s Kentucky Bourbon Trail and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour distilleries has skyrocketed more than 300 percent in the last 10 years. Total attendance last year was nearly 2 million, the highest number since KDA founded the KBT tour in 1999.

Visit www.kybourbon.com and www.kybourbontrail.com to learn more.

In addition, the KDA announced that Rabbit Hole Distillery, Wilderness Trail Distillery and Willett Distillery have advanced to the rank of “Heritage” members, the highest level in the nonprofit group that unites and leads the state’s signature Bourbon and spirits industry.

“We welcome Rabbit Hole Distillery, Wilderness Trail, Willett, and New Riff to our leadership ranks,” KDA President Eric Gregory said. “We look forward to their continued guidance as we continue to responsibly grow and strengthen the Commonwealth’s historic, homegrown Bourbon and distilled spirits industry.”

Kentucky Distillers’ Association

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