In Kentucky, at least, Democrats and Republicans can agree on something, the value to their state of its bourbon whiskey industry.
Louisville Democrat John Yarmuth and Republican Brett Guthrie, whose southwestern Kentucky district contains about half of the state's distilleries, will jointly chair the official, bi-partisan Congressional Bourbon Caucus. The Caucus is intended to strengthen the bourbon industry and protect the Commonwealth’s most well-known export.
"This caucus offers a solid base of bipartisan support for one of Kentucky’s most important industries and largest employers,” said Rep. Yarmuth.
"The bourbon industry is a vital part of the Commonwealth’s heritage that provides thousands of jobs, and this bipartisan caucus will ensure that the industry’s impact is valued," said Rep. Guthrie.
Seventeen Members of Congress from across the nation have signed on as original members of the caucus, and more are expected to join in the weeks ahead.
Over 95 percent of the bourbon produced in the world is distilled and aged in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, where the alcoholic beverage industry employs over 43,000 Kentuckians. Over $3 billion of the gross state product in Kentucky is generated by distilled spirits and over 500,000 visitors annually tour the Commonwealth’s Bourbon Trail. The industry generates more than $100 million a year in taxes.