As we celebrate America’s independence I think it is best to enjoy the day with a uniquely American Drink. Most beers and spirits can be created anywhere in the world and still be called the same thing. Gin is gin regardless of where it is distilled and even what botanicals are used. Pale ale can be made in England or Africa and still legally be called the same name. One of the few exception is Bourbon. According to Title 27 of the US Code of Federal Regulations Bourbon must be made in America. Other requirements for the whiskey to be called Bourbon are made with at least 51% corn, placed in new charred oak container, distilled at 160º proof or below, placed in a container at no more than 125º proof, and no additional color or flavor can be added. Certain individuals may believe that Bourbon can only be made in Kentucky or more exclusively only Bourbon County, but based on Title 27 America is the only geographical requirement.
This uniquely American spirit almost ended the young nation in only the first few years of it’s existence. Scotch Irish farmers brought distilling to west of the Appalachian mountains as a way to ensure their perishable crops of barley, corn and rye made it to market on the east coast. Following the Revolutionary War the United States government found itself in debt. Looking west, the new government saw a lucrative source of revenue in taxing the production of distilled spirits. A tax on whiskey became the first tax on a domestic product in the new nation. Farmers in western Pensilvania and Kentucky were not keen on paying taxes to a new government on the continent so soon after throwing out an overseas government. Unfortunately the number of tax collectors were greatly outnumbered by the distillers in the area. This conflict ultimately resulted in what was known as the Whiskey Rebellion. Ultimate it took a federal force of 13,000 troops led by President George Washington to diffuse hostilities in the area and end the insurrection. This marks the only time a sitting president leading the US Army in a battle. Also with being the first domestic product taxed it has funded this grand experience to we know as The United States for nearly its entire existence.
So as you celebrate 246 years of independence why not do so by raising a glass of Bourbon, a product that can only be Made in America.
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