The Chuck Cowdery Blog
What maple syrup is to Vermont, wine is to California, orange juice is to Florida, and cheese is to Wisconsin, bourbon whiskey is to Kentucky. Which makes ‘Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey’ a valuable brand. 13 million in that brand. The details aren’t important, nevertheless, you can find a few of them here.
A few days ago, Fruit of the Loom announced that it’s shutting down its last manufacturing plant in Kentucky. Fruit of the Loom, which makes underwear, was once one of Kentucky’s largest employers. Using that news as a bridge to talk about why the whiskey business is different may have been ill-considered.
It’s devastating for families and neighborhoods when any company closes. The comparison was in no sense meant to suggest that whiskey careers are at all more valuable than any careers. You can’t make a jobs-to-jobs evaluation between textiles or any typical production and whiskey. Fruit of the Loom at its apogee utilized more people than the entire whiskey industry.
That was never the idea. Kentucky has no unique claim to its textiles vegetation, its auto plant life, its appliance plants, nor to the majority of its other manufacturers. Those industries can and do locate anywhere. Kentucky is glad Toyota is within Kentucky but Toyota could in the same way easily be in Ohio or Tennessee.
Once Kentucky has made its case (taxes, cost-of-living, quality-of-life, location, resources, quality of its labor force, etc.), it becomes a bidding war with other potential locations. The whiskey business differs. Because …