The Real Reason Amazon Should Pick Louisville

Louisville, Kentucky is going to be Amazon’s HQ2 location choice. Here’s why.

When Amazon first started it was an online book retailer. Today they sell everything, literally everything. If you can’t find it on Amazon, it doesn’t exist.

This company has grown to rival Wal-Mart as the largest retailer. Amazon sells clothing, groceries, makeup, toys, and just about anything you can think of that would make it a one-stop shop for all your commerce needs with the added bonus of delivery.

There’s just one thing missing – beverage alcohol. Sure, Amazon sells wine in most markets, and it sells beverage alcohol in other parts of the world. But in the United States we have some pretty seriously complicated liquor laws, laws that can literally change from one city to the next. It makes interstate commerce very difficult.

But being in the heart of Bourbon Country, I have seen many of these laws getting rolled back in the last few years. Almost all of my life you couldn’t buy alcohol on election day in Kentucky, and now you can in almost every city and county with a few holdouts. Distilleries are now able to sell cocktails by the drink, which has opened up new tourism opportunities. Restrictions have been eased to allow for the craft distilling boom.

There’s no reason not to think that eventually it will be possible for online retailers to sell and ship beverage alcohol across the country and across the world.

Which brings us back to Louisville.

Louisville has always been the business center of beverage alcohol production, not just in the state of Kentucky, but in the United States.

  • ⅓ of all jobs, wages, and production in the U.S. beverage alcohol industry take place in Kentucky
  • 95% of the world’s bourbon is made in Kentucky
  • Every major distillery has offices in Louisville because of transportation infrastructure

Which brings us back to Amazon.

Amazon already has a strong presence in Louisville thanks to the UPS Worldport. The UPS Worldport was put here because Louisville was already a major shipping and logistics hub dating back to the dawn of bourbon, when the river was the superhighway of the frontier. Three major interstate highways intersect in Louisville, and it is a two day drive to the majority of the population in America.

Logistics work better when you are closer to the source, and Louisville is close to everything. Most importantly, if Amazon ever were to expand into beverage alcohol sales, Louisville, Kentucky is the place from which to do it.

Photos Courtesy of Maggie Kimberl

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