Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

Today, we celebrate America’s native spirit – Bourbon! Whether you’re a seasoned aficionado or just beginning your journey into the world of Bourbon, this day is all about savoring the rich history, craftsmanship, and flavors that make Bourbon truly unique.

At The Bourbon Flight, we’re passionate about bringing you the finest selections and insights from the Bourbon world. We are grateful to have you as part of our community, and we raise a glass to each of you for your continued support and enthusiasm.

To mark this special occasion, we encourage you to explore new flavors, revisit your favorite pours, or maybe even share a bottle with friends and family. Let’s celebrate the heritage and craftsmanship that goes into every bottle of Bourbon.

Cheers to you, our valued subscribers and clients! Thank you for being a part of The Bourbon Flight family. We wish you a joyous and flavorful National Bourbon Day!

Cheers,

The Bourbon Flight Team

The History of Bourbon

Bourbon is a uniquely American spirit, steeped in rich history and tradition. Here’s a journey through the key milestones that have shaped Bourbon into the beloved drink it is today.

Origins and Early Days

  • 18th Century: The roots of Bourbon trace back to the late 18th century when settlers in Kentucky and Tennessee began distilling corn-based whiskey. The fertile land and abundant corn made these regions ideal for whiskey production.
  • 1791: The Whiskey Rebellion occurred when the federal government imposed a tax on distilled spirits. Many distillers moved to Kentucky to avoid the tax, contributing to the state’s emerging whiskey industry.

Defining Bourbon

  • 1800s: The term “Bourbon” began to be used to describe the corn-based whiskey made in the region. It is believed to be named after Bourbon County, Kentucky, or possibly after the French royal family, the Bourbons.
  • 1840s: Dr. James C. Crow developed the sour mash process, a significant advancement in Bourbon production. This method involved using leftover mash from a previous batch to start fermentation in a new batch, improving consistency and quality.

Legal Recognition and Regulation

  • 1897: The Bottled-in-Bond Act was passed, ensuring that Bourbon labeled as such met certain quality standards. This act mandated that the spirit be aged for at least four years and bottled at 100 proof.
  • 1909: President William Howard Taft legally defined Bourbon, distinguishing it from other types of whiskey. He stated that Bourbon must be made from at least 51% corn, aged in new charred oak barrels, and distilled to no more than 160 proof.

Prohibition and Rebirth

  • 1920-1933: Prohibition dealt a severe blow to the Bourbon industry, with most distilleries forced to close. However, a few were allowed to produce “medicinal whiskey,” preserving some of the industry.
  • Post-Prohibition: After Prohibition was repealed, the Bourbon industry slowly rebuilt. The mid-20th century saw the rise of major distilleries and brands that continue to dominate the market today.

Modern Era

  • 1964: Congress declared Bourbon a “distinctive product of the United States,” giving it legal protection and formal recognition as a uniquely American spirit.
  • 21st Century: The 2000s witnessed a Bourbon renaissance, with a surge in popularity both domestically and internationally. Craft distilleries proliferated, and Bourbon tourism became a significant industry in Kentucky.

Today

Bourbon is celebrated worldwide for its rich flavors and heritage. National Bourbon Day, observed annually on June 14th, is a testament to its enduring legacy and cultural significance. From small-batch artisanal producers to large-scale distilleries, Bourbon continues to evolve, offering a diverse range of expressions for enthusiasts to explore.