Kentucky Alcoholic Beverage Market: Regulations, Statistics, Trends, and Wholesalers

Kentucky is an impressive state when it comes to alcohol, as the state currently has more barrels of bourbon aging than it has residents. Despite being the primary global bourbon manufacturer, Kentucky still has several dry counties, which is quite interesting for both consumers and brand owners to know.

If you are interested in learning more about alcohol consumption trends, local regulations, tax laws, and more in The Bluegrass State, you’ve come to the right spot, as at Park Street, we bring you the best industry information you need on the three-tier system in the state, and other crucial data to help you start selling alcoholic beverages in Kentucky.

Consumption Trends In Kentucky

Kentucky is an extremely attractive state when when it comes to alcoholic beverage brands and overall consumption. You’ll notice that we’ve provided charts displaying consumption growth over the last five years. You will find charts showcasing the growth in consumption by beer, wine, and spirits. For summarization purposes, there’s been a +2.31% CAGR for spirits, +0.22% CAGR for wine, and -0.97% CAGR for beer over this particular 5-year period.

Kentucky Spirits Consumption from 2015-2020 by 9-Liter Cases

Kentucky Spirits Growth 2015-2020

Kentucky Wine Consumption from 2015-2020 by 9-Liter Cases

Kentucky Wine Volume Growth 2015-2020

Kentucky Beer Consumption from 2015-2020 by 9-Liter Cases

Kentucky Beer Volume Growth 2015-2020

Kentucky Spirits Volume Sales By Category – 2020 Data

Spirit trends in Kentucky by volume and dollar sales in 2020.

Category Volume Sales
Thousands, 9-liter cases
Dollar Sales
Straight Whiskey 938 N/A
Canadian Whisky 146 N/A
Scotch Whisky 67 N/A
Irish Whiskey 40 N/A
Gin 119 N/A
Vodka 761 N/A
Rum 158 N/A
Tequila 228 N/A
Cordials/Liqueurs 168 N/A
Cocktails 131 N/A

Source: Beverage Information Group

Kentucky Wine Volume Sales By Category – 2020 Data

See below for the wine trends in Kentucky by volume sales in 2020.

Category Volume Sales
Thousands, 9-liter cases
Table 1,900
Wine Coolers Unknown
Champagne & Sparkling 72.5
Dessert & Fortified 35
Vermouth & Aperitif 4.6

Source: Beverage Information Group

Kentucky Beer Volume Sales By Category – 2020 Data

See below for the beer trends in Kentucky by volume sales in 2020.

Category Volume Sales
Thousands, 2.25 Gallon Cases
Volume Sales barrels
Craft 4.5 144.1
FMBs & Hard Seltzer 2.8 90.0
Super & Super Premium 5.4 173.0
Light 13 418.4
Popular 2.7 87.5
Imported 2.3 75.5

Source: Beverage Information Group


The Top 10 Spirits Brands
In Kentucky

  • Coming Soon

The Top 10 Table Wine Brands
In Kentucky

  • Coming Soon

The Top 10 Domestic Beer Brands
In Kentucky

  • Coming Soon

Alcoholic Beverage Distributors Located In Kentucky

Alcohol sold in Kentucky and the rest of the United States are subject to being sold within the three-tier system. When referencing the “middle tier” we’re referring to the importers and wholesalers within the industry. The middle tier receives its product from suppliers and manufacturers. They then sell the products to distributors who sell to retailers and ultimately, it ends up in the consumers hands for consumption.


Below you will find an updated list of the top distributors located in the state of Kentucky. Need more info on all the alcohol distributors throughout the US? Check out the full list of distributors or fill out the contact form provided.

Wine & Spirits Distributors

Coming Soon

Beer Distributors

Coming Soon

More Distributors in Kentucky (A-Z)

Coming Soon

Click here for an A to Z look at every alcoholic beverage distributor. 

Self-Pitch Distribution Model

One of the hardest problems with brand development in the US is frequently stated as finding a suitable distributor.

There are hundreds of brands, but there are now fewer distribution businesses to select from in each area as a result of industry consolidation.

So, using Park Street’s self-pitch distribution approach is one of the options accessible to up-and-coming companies.

The self-pitch distribution model is comparable to the three-tier conventional distribution model in that goods is distributed to retailers, but the main distinction is that the supplier is in charge of sales and marketing.

Selling Alcohol In Kentucky

Kentucky alcohol sales are controlled by In the state of Arkansas, everything related to alcohol is controlled by the Department of Alcohol Beverage Control. This department controls everything related to the sale and use of alcohol within the state of Kentucky. 

Should you be interested in starting an alcoholic beverage brand or you own one in Kentucky, then you need to know the laws of selling within the state. Here at Park Street, we’ve researched the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions out there. In the event that you’re looking for more answers and you don’t see what you’re looking for, please contact us.

FAQs on Kentucky Beer, Wine & Spirits Sales

What are the alcohol laws in Kentucky?

Kentucky has wet, moist, and dry counties and has strict alcohol laws. People must be over 21 to purchase alcohol, but you must be 20 to serve alcohol and bartend; people can sell beer at 18. Kentucky has an open container law, and any previously opened alcohol container must be stored in the car’s trunk. The BAC limit in Kentucky is 0.08%, and anyone over the legal limit faces harsh penalties.

Do Walmart, Target, and CVS sell alcohol in Kentucky?

Walmart, CVS, and Target stores in Kentucky can sell beer in the state-prescribed times; they are not allowed to sell wine and spirits.

Do they sell liquor, wine, or beer in grocery stores in Kentucky?

Grocery stores in Kentucky can only sell beer, while wine and spirits are sold in licensed liquor stores. However, there are wet, moist, and dry counties in the state, so you should check the particulars in your county.

Do they sell liquor, wine, or beer in gas stations in Kentucky?

Kentucky gas stations can only sell beer, while some counties also allow gas stations to sell beer and wine.

What is the alcohol excise tax in Kentucky?

Kentucky charges the following alcohol excise tax:

Beer Tax – $0.08/gallon
Wine Tax – $0.50/gallon
Distilled Spirits Tax – $1.92/gallon plus $0.25/gallon for liquors with less than 6% ABV
The Kentucky alcohol excise taxes are mandatory, as is the 10.75% wholesale tax, added to the Federal alcohol excise taxes, which are as follows:
Beer Federal Excise Tax – $18.00/31-gallon barrel, or $0.05 per 12-oz can
Wine Federal Excise Tax – $1.07 to $3.4/gallon; $0.21 to $0.67/750ml bottle
Distilled Spirits Federal Excise Tax – $13.5/proof gallon or $2.14/750ml 80-proof bottle (40% ABV).

Buying Alcohol In Kentucky – Hours, Locations & Taxes

We also cover everything there is to know about buying alcohol in the state of Kentucky. This section is for consumers primarily, so they know when and where to purchase products for on-premise and off-premise consumption.

FAQs on Buying Beer, Wine & Liquor in Kentucky

Can you buy liquor in grocery stores in Kentucky?

A Kentucky grocery store can sell beer, but they must have a wine and spirits license and have a separate entrance and part of the store where the wine and spirits are sold, and they can’t allow minors to work there.

Can you buy alcohol in gas stations in Kentucky?

Kentucky gas stations can only sell beer.

Does Kentucky Allow direct-to-consumer shipping?

Kentucky allows direct-to-consumer shipping of beer, wine, and spirits. However, the delivery person must be over 21 years old, and the consumer must provide proof of age, proving they are over 21.

What times can you buy liquor, wine, or beer in Kentucky?

Kentucky allows the sale of alcohol from 6 AM to 4 AM Monday to Saturday and 1 PM to 4 AM on Sunday.

Can you order alcohol to go in Kentucky?

People in Kentucky can order alcohol to go with their prepaid meal if the alcohol is sold in its original packaging or a sealed container.

Where in Kentucky can you buy alcohol off-premise?

You can buy off-premise alcohol in Kentucky in liquor stores, beer and wine from retailers and grocery stores, and beer from gas stations.

Where can buy alcohol for on-premise consumption in Kentucky?

On-premise alcohol in Kentucky is sold at restaurants, bars, clubs, hotels, breweries, wineries, and taprooms.

Data Sources:

At Park Street, we provide services to thousands of clients looking to expand their reach and improve their processes. If you’re looking to grow your brand and focus on marketing while we do the rest, then please reach out to us!

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