Bourbon is one of the most popular spirits in the world, especially in the United States. In fact, it seems like bourbon is an American drink, but is this true? You may have heard that bourbon MUST be made in USA for it to be a true bourbon whiskey. In this article, we dive into the history of bourbon and answer some of your burning questions about the Bourbon manufacturing process.
Can Bourbon Be Made Outside of USA?
There have been several moments throughout history where bourbon was produced outside of USA. However, it is now law that bourbon is to be made in the United States only. If a whiskey is not made in the USA, then it cannot be marketed as bourbon whiskey.
But don’t just take my word for it – here’s what the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau’s Beverage Alcohol Manual says about the issue:
“Whisky produced in the U.S. at not exceeding 80 percent alcohol by volume (160 proof) from a fermented mash of not less than 51 percent corn and stored at not more than 62.5 percent alcohol by volume (125 proof) in charred new oak containers thats why you feel like it burns.”
What State Produces the Most Bourbon?
Kentucky produces 95% of the bourbon on our shelves. This is an interesting fact, especially considering that no regulations are stopping bourbon from being produced anywhere else in USA.
While it is commonly believed that the best bourbon in the world is produced in Kentucky, it can be a good idea to experiment with some bourbon whiskies from other places in USA.
Why Is Bourbon Made in Kentucky?
Many believe that distillers moved to Kentucky to avoid paying tax during the Whiskey Rebellion of the 1700s. However, this isn’t strictly true, as distillers in Kentucky still had to pay Whiskey Tax. To understand why bourbon is made in Kentucky, we first need to understand how bourbon is made.
If you didn’t already know, bourbon is made from grain mash. This grain mash was historically produced by leftover grains, as the distillation process would improve the longevity of the product. Corn grows AMAZINGLY well in Kentucky, which results in the location being the perfect breeding ground for delicious bourbon whiskey.
Although bourbon doesn’t have to be made in Kentucky, most bourbon connoisseurs agree that Kentucky produces the best bourbon. It is generally thought that bourbons made outside of Kentucky aren’t the real thing, although technically they are.
Buying bourbon from Kentucky gives confidence that the bourbon is made authentically with no short cuts. You see, there are some brands from other states that use techniques like ’rapid aging’ to produce bourbon quicker and cut corners.
There are many great bourbon whiskies found outside of Kentucky, but Kentucky will always be the place to buy from when someone wants a truly authentic product with generations of success. The standards are on a completely different level.
Why is Bourbon a United States Product?
Way back in 1964, the US Congress declared that bourbon is now a “Distinct Product of the United States”. Simply put, bourbon is a United States product because the United States said so. This isn’t a unique concept though, as Scotch whiskey can only be made in the country of Scotland.
Historically, Where Has Bourbon Been Made?
Bourbon hasn’t always been made in the United States. There is a famous story of Mary Dowling, who moved from her bourbon distillery from Kentucky to Mexico. Canada was always a place that produced bourbon whiskey, which is why many current Canadian whiskies have a similar flavor profile to bourbon.
Best Bourbons from Outside of Kentucky?
As we mentioned, nearly all bourbon is made in Kentucky. However, there are some brilliant bourbon whiskies that are produced outside of Kentucky:
- Ironroot Republic
- Kings County
- Smith Bowman
- Widow Jane
All of the above bourbon whiskies can be found at Flaviar, which is our top rated bourbon retailer.
Is Bourbon Different than Whiskey?
Difference between bourbon and whisky, Bourbon is made from corn mash that must be over 51% corn, whereas whiskey is made from a mix of fermented grain. Bourbon must also be made in the United States, be distilled at fewer than 160 proof, and aged in oak barrels that have never been used before.
What Does Kentucky Bourbon Taste Like?
No additional colorings or flavorings are allowed to be added to bourbons. The only extra ingredient comes from the oak that the bourbon is aged in. Bourbon is made from grain mash with over 51% corn mixture. This corn mash gives bourbon a sweet flavor profile, with hints of caramel, vanilla, spice, and oak.
So, as you now know, bourbon MUST be made in the United States. In fact, it is law for bourbon to be made in the United States. If a whiskey is not made in the USA, then it cannot be marketed as bourbon whiskey.
Kentucky produces 95% of the bourbon on our shelves. This is an interesting fact, especially considering that no regulations are stopping bourbon from being produced anywhere else in USA. This is because Corn grows AMAZINGLY well in Kentucky, which results in the location being the perfect breeding ground for delicious bourbon whiskey.
Buying bourbon from Kentucky gives confidence that the bourbon is made authentically with no short cuts. You see, there are some brands from other states that use techniques like rapid aging to produce bourbon quicker and cut corners.