1. IT’S THE REAL REASON MAY 4TH IS AN IMPORTANT DATE
Sorry Star Wars fans, but May 4th was special long before Obi-Wan and Yoda wished us well with the force. In fact, 13 years before the first Star Wars movie came out in theaters, on May 4th, 1964, Bourbon became America’s only official native spirit.
Congress passed the resolution with a majority vote, stating that bourbon is unique to the United States and like no other whiskey in the world. It’s the only spirit the U.S. claims as its own, which puts it right up there with the Bald Eagle and ballgame hot dogs, in our opinion.
2. THERE’S A BOURBON TRAIL YOU CAN EXPLORE
If you’re heading to Kentucky anytime soon, you’d be remiss to skip a trip down the Bourbon Trail. With 37 distilleries, bourbon-themed restaurants, and historic hotels, it’s an adventure every bourbon fanatic needs to experience.
Even casual consumers will love it. You get to explore Kentucky history and the roots of the Bourbon industry, which are undeniably intertwined. By bus, bike, or the Bourbon Boat, you can experience the birth of America’s spirit first hand.
Yes, you could drive yourself too. But if you plan to sample the spirits, we don’t suggest it. Bourbon is 80 proof at a minimum, so driving after imbibing is never an option.
3. 95% OF BOURBON COMES FROM KENTUCKY, BUT IT DOESN’T HAVE TO
Bourbon creation is linked to Louisville, and most of it comes from Kentucky. Unlike other distinctly geographic-bound products, though, such as Champagne which must come from Champagne, France, bourbon can come from anywhere in the U.S.
Today, there are bourbon distilleries all over America, including California, where creative mixologists are infusing their bourbons with west coast botanicals.
4. THERE ARE BOURBON RULES
Five of them, to be exact. The bourbon rules are:
Bourbon must be made in the United States.
It must be aged in a charred, new-oak barrel.
The mash must be at least 51% corn.
Whiskey cannot enter the barrel at higher than 125 proof.
Distilleries cannot add anything except water. They can add water only to lessen the proof when necessary.
5. BOURBON DISTILLERIES MADE PENICILLIN DURING WWII
During WWII, bullets and bombs were scary, but wound infection was a legitimate concern as well. Though Sir Alexander Fleming discovered Penicillin some 15 years before WWII broke out, the antibiotic was in short supply.
So, bourbon distilleries converted to make Penicillin on a large scale, saving countless numbers of wounded troops. In a move reminiscent of the WWII penicillin plants, many bourbon distilleries today are making alcohol-based hand sanitizers to help protect people from Covid-19.