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Kentucky bourbon makers riding good times, but high production comes with market risks

FILE - In this Wednesday, April 8, 2009, file photo, a bottle of Maker's Mark bourbon is dipped in red wax during a tour of the distillery in Loretto, Ky. Kentucky bourbon makers have stashed away their largest stockpiles in more than a generation due to resurgent demand for the venerable brown spirit. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke, File)

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FILE - In this Wednesday, April 8, 2009, file photo, a bottle of Maker's Mark bourbon is dipped in red wax during a tour of the distillery in Loretto, Ky. Kentucky bourbon makers have stashed away their largest stockpiles in more than a generation due to resurgent demand for the venerable brown spirit. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke, File)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Kentucky bourbon companies are making more booze than they have since the 1970s, but the high production also holds an inherent risk.

To put it in bartenders' lingo: Distillers are putting up the tab for millions of rounds of bourbon years before it's even ordered.

Hitting the right moment — a big supply meshing with big demand — could mean a serious payday for one of Kentucky's landmark traditions. Missing the target would leave bourbon makers awash with supply and leave future production in question, particularly for the craft distilleries that have seen a recent boom in popularity.

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