just The Facts - Bourbon
September marks the sixth National Bourbon Heritage Month. Here, courtesy of Beam Inc and Kentucky Distillers' Association, are some facts on the US spirit, including its strict definition.
- Bourbon must be produced only in the US
- It must be made of a grain mix of at least 51% corn
- It must be distilled at less than 160 proof (80% abv)
- It must be aged only in new, charred white oak barrels
- Water is the only additive permitted, which can be used to reduce the abv
- 95% of the world's Bourbon supply comes from the state of Kentucky
- Production of Bourbon has risen by more than 50% since 1999 – in 2010, production totalled 786,778 barrels
- Total Bourbon inventory reached 4.7m barrels in 2010, reaching its highest point since 1982
- Exports of distilled spirits from the US broke $1bn in 2010 for the fourth consecutive year. Kentucky Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey made up just over $700m
- In 1840, the spirit being made in Old Bourbon County officially became known as Bourbon. Prior to this it was often labelled 'Bourbon County Whiskey' or 'Old Bourbon County Whiskey'
- In 1964, an act of Congress declared Bourbon as 'America's Native Spirit' and the country's official distilled spirit
What do Bacardi, Diageo and Pernod Ricard have in common? Aside from the obvious, Ian Buxton proffers that they share the same problem when it comes to Bourbon, and that's their lack of it....
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