Kentucky distillers saved the American Rye whiskey category from oblivion. During the 1970s as the Pennsylvania and Maryland distilleries were closing and everyone considered Canadian whisky as “rye whiskey”, Kentucky distilleries picked up many of the brands that were made in those States and started to produce them in Kentucky.
If they had not done so, the category of American rye whiskey would have died out as the last bottles of rye were sold without being restocked. Even so, the category became a very small percentage of the whiskey market. I remember Jimmy Russell once saying that when rye began to grow again in popularity that he tripled his production of rye whiskey that year – he made rye three days a year.
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