Kentucky governor says bourbon industry ‘thriving’ despite Trump’s tariffs 

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) on Friday said that the state's bourbon industry is booming, despite the escalating trade war between President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren defends, Buttigieg attacks in debate that shrank the field Five takeaways from the Democratic debate in Ohio Democrats debate in Ohio: Who came out on top? MORE and China.

"The amount of bourbon that’s being consumed outside of the United States — that is being exported — is up 40 percent year on year, so even in the face of these prevailing winds of tariffs, we’re seeing the amount of consumption up 40 percent over just a year ago,” Bevin told Hill.TV co-hosts Jamal Simmons and Buck Sexton on “Rising.”  

"While it may be indeed impacting it, the industry is thriving like never before,” he added.

The Kentucky Distillers’ Association announced on Thursday that the state's spirits production, which is mostly bourbon, surpassed 1.7 million barrels. This marks the highest level for the second time in nearly 50 years.

Kentucky produces 95 percent of the world’s supply of bourbon. 

But the state’s bourbon industry, which has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years, has been caught in the crosshairs of Trump’s trade disputes.

In July, China imposed a new 25 percent tariff on U.S. whiskeys among other U.S. exports. The retaliatory tariffs were in response to the Trump administration’s tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese goods, which came on top of those levied against Europe, Mexico and Canada.

Experts and producers alike worry this move could threaten emerging markets abroad. 

American spirits exports to China grew by almost 1,200 percent between 2001 and 2017, the Distilled Spirits Council said.

If Trump tariffs curb bourbon consumption abroad, it could also leave a massive inventory of bourbon behind in the state. 

There are already 1.5 barrels for every person living in Kentucky, according to the Distilled Spirits Council. 

— Tess Bonn