Kentucky Bourbon draws drinkers from around the world - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Kentucky Bourbon draws drinkers from around the world

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Kirsten and Mark from Australia Kirsten and Mark from Australia
Jurita from Vilnius, Lithuania Jurita from Vilnius, Lithuania

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Bourbon has gone global. It's now one of the top exporting spirits in the country with an international fan base. We met some folks who love bourbon so much they made the trip from the other side of the world to tour distilleries.

"It tastes good, I guess," said Kirsten, a visitor from Australia.

The land down under is now the second biggest importer of bourbon in the world according to the Kentucky Distillers' Association. Rankings show Canada on top followed by Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany and France to round off the top five for 2012.

The exports of U.S. distilled spirits brought in more than 1 and half billion dollars. The international popularity brings an added bonus, tourism.

"Kristen's a big fan of bourbon and I wanted to come to Kentucky, so yeah this would be a good place to visit," said Mark, her partner.

About 600,000 people visited the Kentucky Bourbon Trail last year making it one of the hottest tourism markets in the country.

Free trade agreements in 2012 also helped deliver bourbon new places like Panama and Korea leaving distillers saying cheers to the future. Projections for 2014 are good. For the first time ever distillers have put away one million barrels to age. That's the strongest indicator experts told me they've seen in decades.

Another international visitor we met was Jurita. She came from Vilnius, Lithuania to visit Kentucky's distilleries.

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