Thursday, April 11, 2013
Uncovering Sourced Whiskey: Produced, Made, Bottled or Distilled?
One of my pet peeves is companies that bottle whiskey they bought from elsewhere and pretend they made it themselves. There is a TTB regulation that requires whiskey to include the state of distillation on the bottle. That used to be a good way to tell if something was sourced. Even if an Idaho company was bottling the whiskey, it would have to say that it was distilled in Kentucky or Indiana. Unfortunately, as I pointed out last fall, the TTB does not seem to be enforcing that rule. So now, how can we tell if a whiskey is sourced?
One of the key things to look at is the wording on the label. Under the TTB regulations, only someone who distilled the whiskey can use the term "distilled by" to identify the source of the whiskey. The terms "made by" or "produced by" mean that the whiskey was made by a rectifier (i.e., someone who did not distill it). The problem is that instead of using any of these terms, the term "bottled by" can be used by distillers or rectifiers.
To summarize, if you see the term "distilled by" on the label, you know that the company actually distilled the whiskey, and if you see "produced by" or "made by", you know they did not. If you only see "bottled by," it could go either way. Even so, my new rule of thumb is that if the label doesn't say "distilled by", it's sourced.
So look for the D word on that new brand of whiskey. If you don't see it, chances are they didn't make it.