Taipei, May 15 (CNA) Governor of Kentucky Steven Beshear showcased the state's thriving bourbon industry Tuesday at a Taipei event celebrating the long-standing partnership between the two sides.
Although Taiwan is more familiar with scotch whisky, Kentucky bourbon has a distinct taste worth savoring, Beshear said as he urged guests to sample 12 different types of premium bourbon made from traditional Kentucky recipes.
"We're not looking to replace that taste. We're looking to add to what people enjoy in terms of alcoholic drinks," the United States governor said, adding that he plans to introduce the product to the local market in the future.
Beshear and a delegation from the Kentucky Distillers' Association arrived in Taipei Monday on a visit with two purposes. The delegation will not only seek to promote Kentucky bourbon, but also celebrate the 30th anniversary of a bilateral partnership between Taiwan and Kentucky.
The Taiwan Provincial Government, which now exists in name only after most of its functions were transferred to the central government in 1998, established a sister-state relationship with Kentucky in 1982.
In a speech at the event, Beshear noted how Taiwan, in a demonstration of sister statehood, reached out to Kentucky shortly after tornadoes and flooding devastated the state last year.
"We will never forget that gesture of friendship," he said, referring to Taiwan's donation of US$50,000 to help with reconstruction.
Beshear said he expected there would be a greater number of Taiwanese visitors to Kentucky if the U.S. includes Taiwan in its Visa Waiver Program in the latter half of this year. Tourism in Kentucky amounts for about US$11 billion a year, he added.
Beshear called on President Ma Ying-jeou earlier in the same day and presented a proclamation celebrating the relationship between Taiwan and Kentucky.
After leaving Taiwan May 17, Beshear will visit Japan to further strengthen existing economic ties and work to build relationships with businesses there, according to a statement released from his office.
(By Nancy Liu)