New bourbon enthusiasts seem to be drawn as much to the bourbon way of life as they are to their bourbon of choice. No other spirit captures the heritage, tradition, and culture of a people quite like bourbon does. Here are the four real reasons bourbon is undergoing a Renaissance, and why every American should be a part of it!
Bourbon is a Celebration of Heritage and Tradition
Bourbon is more than a spirit: its a tradition that represents both the importance of both family and fine craftsmanship. Master Distillers usually hail from a long line of craftsmen who inherit their crowns after long apprenticeships under the watchful eye of distillers who came before them. Rarely do we see such an emphasis placed on learning and preserving specific ways of doing things than in the tradition of bourbon craftsmanship.
Roots run deep in the fraternity of distillers, with families often crossing paths to share their talents with other members of the community. That’s why a Parker Beam can serve as the Master Distiller of Heaven Hill, while a Fred Noe can lead at Jim Beam. The men and women work behind the scenes together, rather than competing for market share, to preserve the traditions of fine bourbon making that has been passed down to each respective family.
Can anyone say the same of any other beer or spirit?
Bourbon is a Celebration of American Culture
Bourbon is as red, white, and blue as apple pie and baseball. George Washington sustained his troops through the winter at Valley Forge with casks of Michter’s bourbon. Every morning, President Truman started his day with a shot of Old Grandad bourbon. There are entire states (including the great state of Kentucky) that wouldn’t exist were it not for bourbon.
We may not always like where the country is going, but when we drink bourbon, we can celebrate how far we have come. It is thanks to bourbon that America is so much “cleaner” than most foreign countries. The Pure Food and Drug act was originally passed in 1906 in part to regulate unscrupulous advertisers and distillers selling phony bourbon. That act led directly to the formation of the Food and Drug Administration and sanitation requirements.
America has always been considered a “melting pot”, and that is definitely reflected in America’s Spirit. The word ‘bourbon’ itself is a French word that pays homage to King Louis XVI, who gave us a hand against the British during the Revolutionary War. The French had long been known to produce Cognac with a barrel aging process that is believed to have been adopted for bourbon production in the United States.
The practice of bourbon making continued to evolve as the Scots-Irish immigrants (who we all know are
notorious drinkers enthusiastic spirits craftsmen) settled in the area. As the Kentucky frontier opened, enterprising immigrants from all over the world set their sights on the Ohio valley. For instance, Louisville’s first licensed distiller, Evan Williams was a Welsh immigrant, and Elijah Craig was born to a Scottish immigrant (mother’s side). Were it not for America’s early culture of openness to enterprising men and women from all over the world, bourbon would not exist.
America has always been a land of diversity, opportunity, and high standards of excellence. When you enjoy a bourbon, you are enjoying the very essence of American culture.
Bourbon Builds Bridges
No other spirit brings people together like bourbon. I have met people from all over the country and from all over the world who share very little in common besides their love of bourbon. Despite our collective differences, these people have become some of my best friends. Bourbon is a drink that is best sipped slowly, making it perfect for reminiscing with old friends, or for starting great conversations with new ones. Bourbon builds bridges.
There’s a Bourbon for Every Reason and Season!
Server: “Would you like any coffee, tea, or orange juice?”
Me: “Bourbon. And stop artificially limiting my choices just because it’s 9 AM.”
There is a bourbon for every season and every reason. Having brunch? Ditch the mimosa and have an Old Fashioned, a drink originally created to be consumed for breakfast. Having a bad day? Nothing a little Booker’s can’t cure (Booker’s is called my “bad day bourbon”, because whatever troubles you were having, you wont remember them after a three-finger pour!) Celebrating? That is what Manhattans are for! No matter what the occasion, bourbon proves to be one of the most versatile spirits available, and can be consumed any time of day or night without the ill effects of many other spirits.
Every bourbon has its own personality, with some pairing better with different seasons than others. For instance, Noah’s Mill – with its peppermint like finish and high-proof – is best served during the wintertime, while lighter proof, lighter bodied bourbons like Basil Hayden make for fine summertime bourbon. Because trust me, you don’t want to be drinking 100 proof bourbon in 100 degree weather!
There truly is a bourbon for every reason and every season!
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