As the only alcohol legally designated as a product of the U.S. by the Senate Concurrent Resolution 19 of 1964, it’s no wonder bourbon has profoundly shaped the taste palette across both the nation and the world. With 95% of the world's bourbon made in Kentucky, the state is known as an epicenter for spirits production.

In the past few years, the bourbon and spirits industry has seen a surge in growth. Amidst this dynamic landscape, Averitt has carved out a distinctive role in supporting and enhancing the spirits supply chain. In an insightful interview with Todd Harrett, one of Averitt’s Transportation Specialists, we unravel the company's journey, its impact on the industry, and the unique strategies that set Averitt apart.


Let’s start, like Averitt did, with bourbon.

How has the bourbon industry evolved over the years, and what role has Averitt played?

Todd Harrett (TH): The bourbon industry has undergone significant transformations, with an exponential rise in producers. Kentucky has played a pivotal role, driven by substantial investments and its unique geographical advantages, such as locally sourced limestone water containing low iron. Because of its unique geography and historical production qualities, Kentucky bourbon commands a 20% valuation premium over aging spirits in other states. Kentucky is recognized as the birthplace for bourbon, which has the highest legal production standards in the world. It is the United States' only native spirit by law.

Within my first few years of working at Averitt, we talked about different industries that we could support based on our services. Right away we realized we could do that with a lot of the distilleries and their suppliers in Kentucky, because of the growth that the industry has experienced from craft producers (those under 50,000 barrels a year). We work closely with the innovative craft segment of the industry and larger heritage producers. There’s also a spirit of collaboration that is part of the distilling community and has been since the 1700-1800s, and that spirit is part of our culture. At Averitt, “we think in decades, not days.” We emphasize the development of a lasting relationship with these companies.

Watch this video to learn more about our bourbon and spirits capabilities and partnerships:


Can you tell me about some of the history of the bourbon industry?

TH: A great example of the rich history entrenched in this industry would be the Kentucky Peerless story. They’re one of the original Distilled Spirits Producers (DSP); their DSP number is 50. The distillery, deeply rooted in family traditions, has a captivating narrative dating back to the Prohibition era. Mr. Henry Karver, a key figure in Peerless' lineage, played a crucial role in hiding and protecting barrels during Prohibition, and even provided the alcohol on prescriptions for the Walgreen brothers. They were voted the No. 1 craft distillery in the world in 2021; that honor, plus their history, really showcases the resilience and craftiness that defines the bourbon heritage.

Watch this video on our partnership with Kentucky Peerless:


How does Averitt contribute to the success of local brands like Kentucky Peerless?

TH: Averitt plays an integral role in getting their products to market. Our commitment goes beyond transportation; it's about being a reliable partner in their growth journey. We handle the logistics, whether that’s with our asset-based solutions or through partners, ensuring that these premium products reach markets efficiently, and ultimately contributing to the brand's reputation.


While bourbon remains a focal point, Averitt's influence extends beyond, encompassing a diverse range of spirits. Our extensive resources position us as a reliable partner for distilleries looking for a transportation and logistics provider with a global reach.

Does Averitt work with those in the spirits industry that seek international solutions?

TH: Yes, Averitt has a global outlook, and our services extend to international brands in the spirits industry. We leverage our expertise in integrated solutions, including global logistics and international shipping, to cater to the diverse needs of our clients, ensuring a seamless and efficient supply chain.

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Are there specific challenges or unique aspects of transporting spirits that Averitt addresses?

TH: Transporting spirits comes with its own set of challenges, from regulatory compliance to ensuring the integrity and security of high-value products. There are a lot of new opportunities, and we manage the risks by preparing and planning appropriately.

In your experience, what sets Averitt apart in the spirits transportation industry?

TH: Averitt's distinctiveness stems from our multi-faceted approach. With five service units, including LTL, Truckload, Distribution & Fulfillment, Dedicated, and Integrated solutions, we can tailor our services to meet the specific needs of the spirits industry. While we don’t transport grain, we have the capability to help ship pretty much every other part in the farm-to-shelf process – more than just shipping barrels. We've even transported the wood for the barrels, showcasing how our diverse service units collaborate to make this possible. Our commitment to premium quality service further establishes us as a reliable and preferred partner. Also, our commitment to detail, transparency, and learning are also a large part of the culture of the spirits industry.

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What can shippers in the spirits industry expect when partnering with Averitt?

TH: Shippers can expect a collaborative and solution-oriented approach from Averitt. We understand the intricacies of the spirits industry and are equipped to provide end-to-end solutions. Whether it's warehousing, distribution, or international shipping, our dedicated teams ensure that shippers receive not only reliable logistics, but also a strategic partnership focused on their success. I feel extremely fortunate to walk into these places and know with confidence that we can make a difference in their business. A large part of that is the integrity and dedication of our drivers. They really lay the groundwork for us.

Any final thoughts on Averitt's role in the spirits industry and its future endeavors?

TH: Averitt sees the spirits industry as more than just a business venture; it's a partnership in the stories and legacies crafted by each distillery. As we move forward, our commitment remains unwavering — to be the trusted logistics partner that not only transports spirits, but contributes to the success and growth of our partners in this unique industry.

If you have questions or want to learn more about how we service the spirits industry, please reach out to your local Transportation Specialist or email