National Bourbon Day: America’s Native Spirit

Don’t forget to mark your calendars and celebrate National Bourbon Day on June 14th. In 1964, a Congressional resolution declared bourbon as America’s native spirit. As a result, no other place in the world can produce whiskey and label it as bourbon, making bourbon truly American. Learn more about this national drink and what makes it special.

While whiskey is distilled all around the world, bourbon is officially American’s spirit or more specifically, Kentucky’s spirit. The state produces 95 percent of all the bourbon in the world. The fertile land is perfect for growing the corn that goes into producing bourbon. In fact, while bourbon can be made anywhere in the world, it cannot be labeled as bourbon unless it comes from Kentucky. For example, Jack’s Daniels Sour Mash Whiskey fits the definition of bourbon, but because it is produced in Tennessee, it has to be labeled as whiskey.

How is Bourbon Made?  

Bourbon has to meet a series of specific requirements in order to be considered true bourbon. First, it must consist of a grain mixture that is made up of at least 51 percent corn. It should also be distilled to no more than 160 proof. Bourbon must also be aged in new, charred oak barrels in which it is aged for at least two years. Used barrels are shipped to other parts of the world where they are used to age tequila and Scotch. The bourbon should not be put into the barrel if it has a proof higher than 125. All of these steps help to give it a distinctive flavor that is sweeter than typical whiskey. In fact, many distillers use 65 to 75 percent corn in their grain mixture to create an even sweeter flavor.

Bourbon is such a significant part of the American and Kentuckian culture that the state actually has more barrels of whiskey than it does people. In addition, the Marker’s Mark distillery, which opened in 1805 and is the oldest distillery in the country, has been declared a National Historic Landmark. The distillery is just one stop along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, which is a great way to experience Kentucky and America’s spirit. Schedule your trip for June 14th and celebrate National Bourbon Day at the home of bourbon. 

Is there a National Bourbon Day? 

Yes, National Bourbon Day is June 14th. 

Does all bourbon come from Kentucky? 

95 percent of all bourbon comes from Kentucky.

Can you call it bourbon if it’s not made in Kentucky? 

Yes. While the vast majority of bourbon is made in Kentucky, the actual definition of bourbon has nothing to do with location. However, bourbon cannot be labeled as bourbon unless it is made in Kentucky.

Is Bourbon sweeter than whiskey? 

Bourbon tends to have a sweeter flavor, especially compared to Scotch, which is smokier.

Why is most bourbon made in Kentucky? 

Kentucky is full of fertile land that is perfect for growing the corn that is required to make bourbon.

What are the requirements for a bourbon?

Bourbon must contain a grain mixture of at least 51 percent corn and be distilled to no more than160 proof or 80% ABV. It must be aged in new, charred oak barrels and it cannot be put into the barrel if it is higher than 125 proof of 62.5% ABV.

What is the oldest bourbon distillery in Kentucky? 

The Maker’s Mark whiskey distillery in Loretto, Kentucky, has been operating since 1805 and is a National Historic Landmark.

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