Updated Fri, Apr 4, 2014 3:56 pm
Forestry officials say the growing popularity of bourbon and whiskey worldwide is helping bring back Kentucky's forest and wood-products industry.
The good news came in the Kentucky Forestry Economic Impact Report for 2013-14, which was released on Thursday.
UK forestry extension professor Jeff Stringer co-wrote the report.
Stringer told The Courier-Journal the industry is coming back from the recession that caused it to tank in 2009. In 2013, the industry pumped $7.9 billion into the state's economy - putting it on par with the with the state's tourism industry.
The forest and wood-products industry also has benefited from increased housing starts, leading to a demand for more wood floors and cabinets.
And Kentucky is not depleting its forests. It is growing almost twice as many trees as it harvests.