Bourbon is kinda like whiskey’s “sweet spot.” Why? Well, first, because corn is a sweet grain.
The more corn, the sweeter the whiskey. Also, it’s tougher to make bourbon than whiskey.
In fact, the government actually has standards for “Straight Bourbon Whiskey.”
By law, bourbon must be:
- Produced in the USA
- Made of a grain mix of at least 51% corn
- Distilled at less than 160 proof (80% ABV)
- No additives allowed (except water to reduce proof where necessary)
- Aged in new, charred white oak barrels
- Aged for a minimum of two years*
* To be called “Straight” bourbon
Simply put, the main bourbon ingredients are distilled grain and water. We mix more than 51% corn (as required by the government) with barley, malt and rye. Then we add a little yeast. Not just any yeast, either. We’ve used the same, private-stock strain of yeast since Prohibition was repealed. Then we add pure, iron-free water, some time and a whole lotta love. And there you have it: The World’s Finest Bourbon.
AMERICA’S NATIVE SPIRIT
The Beam family’s contribution to America: The World’s Finest Bourbon. Bourbon is America’s contribution to the world of whiskey. To make it official, the U.S. Congress recognized Bourbon as America’s Native Spirit in 1964, about 200 years after the very first bourbon went into a barrel.