It all began in 2007 when Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning sponsored a bill that proclaimed the month of September as National Bourbon Heritage Month.
Bourbon was first designated as "America’s Native Spirit” in a 1964 Act of Congress. But the Commonwealth of Kentucky has been home to bourbon and its rich, cultural history for over 200 years.
If you're looking for a way to get your Kentucky Bourbon groove on this month, here are five ideas to get you in the “spirit” of things...
Experience the Difference
Not all wines are the crafted the same, and neither are all bourbons. To discover what type of bourbon you prefer, grab a glass and explore the three main bourbon groups: traditional (corn), wheat and rye.
Traditional (corn) bourbon contains at least 70% corn with equal parts of barley and rye. Evan Williams, Jim Beam and Wild Turkey distilleries craft traditional bourbons.
Wheat bourbons contain a higher amount of wheat with corn and barley blended in. This type of bourbon is softer and sweeter than the traditional. Wheat bourbon producers include Maker’s Mark, Pappy Van Winkle and Old Grand-Dad.
Rye bourbons are heavy on rye and provide a spicy, more robust flavor profile. These bold bourbons are the mainstays of Buffalo Trace, Four Roses and Woodford Reserve distilleries.
Brush up on your bourbon whiskey knowledge at the Oscar Getz Museum in Bardstown Kentucky. Located in Spalding Hall, this museum contains a 50-year collection of rare whiskey memorabilia, from authentic moonshine stills, to advertising art, to rare whiskey bottles, with artifacts that date from pre-colonial tines to post-Prohibition.
Celebrate the Heritage
Every September, Bardstown Kentucky – Bourbon Capital of the World – hosts the Kentucky Bourbon Festival, and this is the week! Today through Sunday (September 15 – 20, 2015) you can sample bourbons from master distillers as well as regional micro-distilleries from around the state. Enjoy historical tours, bourbon tastings and distillery trips: the trifecta for bourbon lovers.
Travel the Trail
The Kentucky Bourbon Trail, established in 1999, provides visitors with tours, tastings and information about the art and science of bourbon production. Nine distilleries make up the trail, which covers bourbon’s beginnings in the 1700s, up through the “bourbon experience” of today. The trail has averaged nearly 2.5 million visitors a year for the past five years – a great sign that bourbon is the favored “native spirit.”
Take the Craft Tour, Too
The Bluegrass State is also home to a burgeoning Craft Bourbon Trail. This state-of-the-art tour highlights almost a dozen micro-distilleries scattered throughout Kentucky, offering handcrafted samples served with a side of entrepreneurial history and passion.
And remember, while whiskey can be made any where in the world, bourbon can only be made in the U.S.