By: Tom Eblen

Bill Samuels’ speech to the Bluegrass Hospitality Association was a lot like the Maker’s Mark bourbon his company produces: smooth with a distinct flavor — and a kick.flaming barrels

Samuels blasted state officials, accusing them of trying to kill the bourbon industry with excessive taxes and unfair sales restrictions. And he signaled that the industry will be fighting back.

“We’re not looking for subsidies from our commonwealth,” Samuels said. “But we’re sure as hell not looking to be thrown under the bus.”

The bourbon industry is smarting over the General Assembly’s eleventh-hour move earlier this year to balance the state budget by adding the 6 percent sales tax to alcohol.

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