Yes, my friend, today is Bottled-in-Bond day,as I am sure all of you are well aware of.
But for those mindless troglodytes that were not aware of this, or…….do I dare say…..not know what Bottled-in-Bond even means………..GASP!!!! I’ll give you a quick tutorial on the definition and significance of this term ‘Bottled-in-Bond’.
So, Bottled-in-Bond (or BiB) is a whiskey term. It is sort of a label of quality, a badge of honor per se. You see, there was a time, around the late 1800’s, where whiskey was becoming more and more popular. Bars across America were stocking this finest of liquor from all sorts of avenues; from distilleries themselves to wandering salesmen to even making it themselves.
I think you can see the possible problem.
When you allow people to just create whiskey or sell ‘whiskey’, this invites all sorts of nefarious acts. It is like a city that doesn’t enforce laws, all of the sudden this gives bad people license to rob stores, sell drugs in the open, and for the masses to feel unsafe (have no idea what that is like living in Seattle……….). And this is exactly what happened with whiskey; shop keepers used prune juice, spittoon pots, even turpentine to color their spirit to look authentic and passed it as whiskey. You can imagine the result of this; people getting sick, even dying, from these concoctions.
So enter the US Government.
In 1897, the government passed a law (called the ‘Bottled-in-Bond’ Act) that helped regulate this awful situation. The quick and dirty version of this law states:
Must be aged 4 years
Must be 50% abv
Must have been aged in a US Government bonded warehouse
And some other minusca we don’t need to get into
But you can see from this Act, this really helped clean up the whiskey scene, especially bourbon. See, the government is needed in our lives.
To this day, the BiB label is used on American whiskey, mainly bourbons, to should the juice inside the bottle meets all that criteria.
Granted, a bourbon being BiB is not as important in today’s market as it once was. There is no false ingredients or poisons inside whiskey bottles anymore, outside the alcohol itself. And there are plenty of designer bourbons that have high quality that don’t use the BiB label (although may qualify). But it is still a badge that has a real meaning and it pretty much guarantees that this product is at least good.
So thank you Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897, thank you for ensuring quality in our whiskey, integrity in our purchases, and preventing more people from dying…..although those people from the 1890’s would be dead by now anyway……so thank you BiB Act for not having more people….die earlier….and blame God for human’s short life span…..???? I guess???
Anyway, crack a BiB bourbon open tonight and celebrate. I know I will.