September is National Bourbon Heritage Month. Believe it or not, this is not a holiday contrived for the gains of distilleries, but an official holiday that was declared by the Senate in 2007. Read the Full text here if you’re a doubter. This resolution declared the holiday and also reinforced bourbon as “America’s native spirit”.
Determining which distillery is the oldest is a hotly debated subject, and variants in phrasing of claims abound. Jack Daniels claims the “oldest registered distillery”, Buffalo Trace claims the “oldest continuously-operating distillery”, and the Guinness Book of World Records claims that Maker’s Mark holds the title. However, there is something that makes me uneasy about trusting bourbon facts to an Irish beer maker.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter which distillery is the oldest. There is a rich history behind bourbon that many are unaware of. For example, did you know that some distilleries were allowed to operate through prohibition? Buffalo Trace was granted one of only four licenses to continue production for “medicinal purposes”. Since it’s the last weekend of National Bourbon Heritage Month, I challenge you to go out and buy a bottle that you’ve never tried and look into its history. You’re bound to discover the interesting history of America’s native spirit.