Since Bourbon Heritage Month is nearly here, we thought we’d raise a toast to bourbon. And when it comes to bourbon, Kentucky is king.

Aside from being its birthplace, the Commonwealth is also responsible for producing 95% of the world's supply of bourbon. In fact, the amount of distilleries climbed from 8 to 68 state-wide over the last decade, according to the Kentucky Distillers Association

Since social media is believed to have helped reignite an appreciation for cocktail culture and high-end spirits, let’s take a look at some of the biggest influencers behind this multi-billion dollar industry.

1) Fred Minnick (Twitter: @FredMinnick)

Fred is a Wall-Street Journal Best-Selling author, bourbon curator and tasting expert. When it comes to bourbon, he’s always at the forefront of the industry with the latest releases and industry news. He hosts Bourbon Up on Amazon Prime, is a Senior Contributor for Forbes, and the Editor-in-Chief at Bourbon Plus.

2) Tom Fischer (Twitter: @bourbonblog)

With more than a 104K followers on Twitter, Tom is a top bourbon expert, and is the founder of one of the first bourbon blogs, appropriately named, BourbonBlog.com. He’s often sourced for bourbon-stories and has been featured on CNN, NPR, USA Today, BBC and more. He currently hosts bourbon tastings around the world, and has even been named a Kentucky Colonel by the Governor. 

3) Carla Carlton aka “The Bourbon Babe” (Twitter: @carlacarlrton)

Carla is an award-winning bourbon journalist, author and speaker. She recently published a book called, “Barrel Strength Bourbon: The Explosive Growth of America’s Whiskey” and will sit on a panel at Bourbon & Beyond. Her coverage isn’t limited to Kentucky, as she travels to distilleries around the world. She believes that  “bourbon shouldn’t be intimidating—the real joy of sipping the spirit is that common experience.”

4) Maggie Kimbrel (Twitter: @LouGirl502)

Maggie is a bourbon writer from Louisville, who contributes to American Whiskey Magazine, Whiskey Magazine, The Bourbon Review and The Alcohol Professor. Her love for bourbon started after the head distiller of Four Roses Bourbon taught her how to properly taste bourbon at a Derby tasting event.

5) Courtney Kruer (Instagram: @bourbonbitesandbeauty)

When it comes to life, Courtney’s philosophy is to look good, eat well and drink bourbon.    She currently runs a website called Bourbon, Bites and Beauty where she takes a lifestyle approach to content with a focus on bourbon and self care.  “Bourbon fans are a special breed, and whenever I have the opportunity to talk with them or teach them something new I've just made a friend for life,” says Kruer. 

Whether you need suggestions on what to sip, or are simply interested in the history of the spirit, these influencers are a great reference into the world of bourbon. Cheers!