Although there isn’t a law that says bourbon must be made in Kentucky, there might as well be with the production levels that happen there. The corn-based spirits age in barrels to create about 95% of the world’s supply.
If you think that something must be in the water in Kentucky to make great bourbon, you’d be right. Much of the state is on top of blue limestone deposits, adding more magnesium and calcium to the groundwater tables.
When you dunk a cup into a Kentucky stream, the water will taste better than almost anything else you’ll find in the country.
Kentucky’s Weather Contributes to the Bourbon
The continental climate you can find in Kentucky also makes the state an excellent place for making bourbon. You get hot summers and chilly winters, allowing the whiskey to develop its distinctive flavor within the charred aging barrels.
Those temperature changes allow the wood to breathe, creating the expansion and contraction needed for the alcohol to move in and out.
That facet of Kentucky life is also why corn production in the state occurs at high levels. Immigrants from Virginia were given 400 acres of land to use if they built a cabin and planted the crop, with many of them coming from Ireland and Scotland.
With the distilling knowledge they brought with them, Kentucky was a paradise for those who loved bourbon.
Kentucky Bourbon Changed the Recipe
It’s said that a Baptist preacher invented bourbon after storing whiskey in barrels that got charred by a fire. State officials say there isn’t any truth to that idea.
By 1794, there were already 500 distilleries operating in the state. Most of them got to work relatively tax-free until the Civil War, except for a War of 1812 tax.
You can make bourbon almost anywhere with the right ingredients. If you don’t get your spirits from Kentucky, what are you actually drinking?