Bottled in Bond Act Celebration

March 3 2024 was the 127th anniversary of the Bottled in Bond Act

4 months ago

Yesterday was the 127th anniversary of the Bottled-in-Bond act of 1897. In honor of that celebration I thought I would go over all the requirements for a Bourbon to meet this designation.

To be designated as Bottled in Bond, a bourbon must adhere to a strict set of legal requirements stipulated by the U.S. Government's Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits. These regulations ensure authenticity, quality, and transparency. The key components are as follows:

  1. Single Distillery Product A Bottled in Bond bourbon can only contain the product of one distiller at one distillery. No blending from other distilleries is permitted. This ensures that the bourbon comes from a single, traceable source.
  2. Single Distillation Season In addition to being from one distillery, all the bourbon in the bottle must be from the same distillation season, typically a six-month period in either spring or fall. This prevents co-mingling of bourbon distilled across seasons, which could introduce inconsistencies.
  3. Aged At Least 4 Years The bourbon must be aged for a minimum of four years. Many Bottled in Bond bourbons state age above this minimum. The aging must occur in a federally bonded and supervised warehouse.
  4. Aged in New, Charred Oak Containers The bourbon can only be aged in new, charred oak barrels or containers. Previously used barrels cannot be utilized. The oak wood and fresh charring contribute color, vanillins, tannins, and other flavor compounds.
  5. 100 Proof (50% ABV) Bottled in Bond bourbons must be bottled precisely at 100 proof, or 50% alcohol by volume (ABV). This is the highest proof normally allowed for consumption. No dilution or concentration of the bourbon is permitted.
  6. Produced in the United States
    The bourbon must be distilled, aged, and bottled according to U.S. regulations and under U.S. government supervision and bonding requirements.
  7. No Added Colors, Flavors, or Other Spirits As specified by the Standards, Bottled in Bond bourbon cannot contain any added colors, flavors, or other spirits beyond the distilled spirit aged in the oak barrel. Only water is allowed to be added to adjust the proof.
  8. Mash Bill of At Least 51% Corn
    The mash bill, or grain recipe, must contain at least 51% corn as the majority grain, in keeping with bourbon's traditional production. The other grains are typically rye, wheat, and/or malted barley.
  9. Barreled for Aging at 125 Proof or Less When going into the new, charred oak containers for aging, the distilled spirit must be no more than 125 proof (62.5% ABV). This helps extract optimal flavors.
  10. Bottled and Labeled with Transparency
    Bottled in Bond bourbons must openly display specific production information on the label:
  1. U.S. Government Tax Strip and Certification
    Each bottled must carry an official strip stamp indicating the liquid was produced and bottled under U.S. government supervision per bonding requirements.
  2. Traceability and Regulation With all the above requirements, Bottled in Bond bourbons offer full transparency and traceability of their origins and production methods, certified under federal regulation.

By meeting this stringent set of criteria, Bottled in Bond bourbons distinguish themselves as some of the highest quality, most authentic American whiskey products with a long heritage dating back to the 1897 Bottled-in-Bond Act. Both historic and modern Bottled in Bond releases showcase bourbon's traditions.

As always I am open to hear your take and your input. You can reach me at [email protected]

Brian Certain

Published 4 months ago