When you think Kentucky, the first beverage that comes to mind is… milk? If not, a petition circulating in the Bluegrass State to change Kentucky’s official state beverage from milk to bourbon may pique your interest. In 2005, the state of Kentucky passed State Senate Bill 93 — proposed by Joey Pendleton, a Hopkinsville representative and, you guessed it, dairy farmer — which named milk the Bluegrass State’s official beverage, as “milk production and the manufacture of dairy products are major contributors to the economic well-being of Kentucky agriculture,” according to the text of the bill.
However, the decision had its detractors. As Ryan Valentin, a legal research teacher at the University of Kentucky College of Law told Louisville.com in 2015,
“People never think milk when they think Kentucky … If you’re going to bother to spend the time and money (to go through the legislative process to adopt symbols), you should be adopting things that are unique to your state, that will promote your state and will further the economic growth of your state.”
He’s not wrong. As Kentucky is home of the famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail and powerhouse distillers, like Wild Turkey Bourbon, promoting bourbon as part of its history seems to make the most sense.
Opposition has grown since the bill was passed, and right now, a Change.org petition is making the rounds online to change Kentucky’s official beverage to its world-renowned and namesake-bearing bourbon.
The petition, created by organization/retailer Kentucky for Kentucky, is drumming up some strong support in short order. The petition’s creators intended to pass it along to the Kentucky State House and State Senate once it had 100 signatures; within two days of posting, it had 1,300 and, as of Sept. 11, had nearly 2,500 supporters and counting.
As the tongue-in-cheek text of the petition reads:
Milk is boring, bland, and contributes next to nothing to Kentucky’s image or economy. Bourbon, on the other hand, is wildly popular around the world, unique to the Commonwealth, a source of pride for its citizens, a major economic driver, and conjures an idyllic image of our state in the minds of those who might choose to visit or do business here.
Washington D.C. has the lime rickey as its official drink (Cool!), Puerto Rico has the piña colada (Cool!), Maine has the soft drink Moxie (Cool!), Kentucky and 19 other states have cow juice (Not cool!).
All true Kentuckians and bourbon connoisseurs around the world should band together in a spirit of righteous indignation and demand the complete obliteration of milk from the Kentucky Revised Statutes for all of eternity.
In short, milk must be destroyed and bourbon elevated to its rightful place as Kentucky’s official state beverage. Join us!
To add to its already-sound argument, the petition’s creators even offers a few bourbon facts, among them that a whopping 95 percent of the world’s bourbon is made in Kentucky, making it an $8.5 billion industry in the state, employing some 17,500 people with an annual payroll of $800 million.
Those are some impressive numbers, and coupled with the online support garnered by the petition, it won’t be at all surprising if Kentucky doesn’t rethink its ridiculous decision and raise a glass to its unofficial official beverage, bourbon.