September 20, 2013 at 10:45 PM EDT - Updated July 25 at 5:46 PM
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The distilling industry is pouring millions of dollars into the economy. Mayor Greg Fischer says Louisville is in the midst of a bourbon boom.
Fischer said the bourbon industry is responsible for 4,200 jobs and $263 million in payroll. In 2012, it accounted for $50 million in capital projects.
"One thing that a mayor or any city wants to have is a city where people think about authentic cultural tourism and a unique product and that's what we want, otherwise we are just anywhere USA," said Fischer.
At a press conference Friday, Fischer proclaimed that Louisville, Kentucky is the bourbon capital of the world after findings from a University of Louisville study. The study says 40 percent of the state's distilling, warehousing, and office jobs are in Louisville.
"I think that we can legitimately claim that we are the bourbon capital of the world,” said Fischer, “if not us, then who can be?"
Bardstown, Kentucky residents say the title belongs to their town.
"All the distilleries are in Bardstown,” said William "Bo Bo" Phillips, a Bardstown resident, “Makers Mark and all of them."
Phillips said Louisville’s mayor is misguided. Others attending the Kentucky Bourbon Festival agree. Tourist Jack Smith said he and others flock to Bardstown every year because of the bourbon.
"It's a small town atmosphere and we've made friends over the thirteen years from Japan, Canada, Oklahoma, California," said Smith.
Self-proclaimed "Kentucky Bourbon Master" Colonel Michael Masters runs the Kentucky Bourbon House mansion in Bardstown. Masters said there could be legal ramifications if Louisville's mayor continues hailing Louisville as the "Bourbon Capital of the World."
“Bardstown is the bourbon capital of the world by trademark,” said Masters, “so if they [Louisville] try to use it, there is going to be some issues."
The Kentucky Bourbon Festival runs from until Sunday, September 22.