I've read these forums for a bit now, but this will be my first post. Wish me luck.
I've been intrigued by some of the threads around here discussing all of the history and change in ownership among a lot of the well known Kentucky distilleries. So I did a little research on the KY ABC site and it appears that the number of distilleries in the state has not changed much in the last decade (we are still hovering around 16), despite smaller craft distilleries springing up across the US in other states.
I know KY does not have a micro-distillery license, but licensing fees are really not that expensive in the state (probably cost $6,000 for all the state and local fees, including tasting licenses) nor does it appear especially difficult (relatively speaking) to start a new distillery in the state. So my question is, why have we not seen more start ups in this space yet?
I found a few smaller operations that looked like they were established in the last year or two (the party source, alltech's new lexington distillery, Limestone branch, Silver Trail, etc.), and even found one or two that may have closed down recently. But for some reason I thought there would be more 'churn' in the state, with distilleries opening and closing every few years. Where are these struggling little guys? Do they even exist?
How do you keep up to date with the new and struggling distilleries? Are there any hidden gems or ones we should probably find time to visit and sample sooner rather than later?
Obviously there is a lot involved with making a good bourbon (or any spirit really, bourbon just takes longer!), but it seems the "whiskey revolution" or "bourbon explosion" as some people like to call it is not being matched on the production side by truly new or innovative producers. Well, at least not in KY.