Kentucky's bourbon industry is about to gain an income tax credit. Beginning next year, distilleries can get the credit for state and local property taxes paid on aging barrels of bourbon. Governor Steve Beshear signed the bill into law Tuesday afternoon. Former Maker's Mark President Bill Samuels Jr. says Kentucky needs to maintain its position in the industry.
"And we have a 96 percent monopoly on bourbon. It's the fastest growing distilled spirits category in the world. It's loaded with good images," said Samuels. "We want to keep that monopoly in Kentucky. So, it's really about being competitive, being able to recruit new members to the industry and continued investment from the old members."
Under the new law, distilleries will be required to invest the tax credit in capital improvements including construction, renovation and tourism-related facilities. Samuels says the benefit is more than dollars and cents.
"I think it's as much philosophical as it is anything. It sends a signal that Kentucky's open for this industry. We went 200 years where there was a pretty sizable crowd who wanted to get rid of us, and long after prohibition was over. So, it's a new day," added Samuels.
Last year, the barrel tax generated about 14 million dollars in state and local property taxes.