What Are Bottled-in-Bond Spirits
& Why They're Popular
What Are Bottled-in-Bond Spirits
& Why They're Popular
A New Riff on Arguably America’s Greatest Whiskey Tradition.
The Bottled in Bond Act of 1897 represented a watershed moment for American whiskey. For the first time, a group of Kentucky whiskey makers stood up for the quality of Bourbon, demanded an end to spurious blending and rectifying practices, and required legal protections for the best of the best. In fact, compared to international regulations governing the quality of other great aged spirits such as Scotch and Cognac, we find that America’s Bottled in Bond Act (BIB), now going on 120 years old, is no less than the highest quality standard of any country in the world. Rather than reserve Bottled In Bond for special or limited releases, it is the signature of all of our whiskey.
Aside from barrel proof single barrel bottlings, ALL New Riff whiskey will be Bottled in Bond. Yet the highest quality standard in the world is not high enough for us: we are taking the standard one step further by dispensing with chill filtration to ensure that not a single molecule of flavor is sacrificed for cosmetic appearances. We are firmly grounded in Kentucky’s revered Bourbon legacy, but this is our riff. A new riff on arguably America’s greatest whiskey tradition: Bottled in Bond Without Chill Filtration.
“In the past few years, we’ve seen multiple lawsuits, transparency concerns over sourced whiskey, age statements being dropped, and general consumer distrust toward whiskey companies. With bottled in bond, consumers have a guarantee every time—the way it should be.” – Fred Minnick
Why is Bottled In Bond Popular?
It seems as though an innovation in the spirits industry reaches shelves nearly every day. Color changing Gins, cold brew liqueurs, movie start promoted bottles, and spirits made sans alcohol. However, one of the most notable kinds of spirits hasn’t changed in decades.
Bottled In Bond labels are steeped in more than a century of American distilling heritage and arguably hold others to a standard. If the term sounds unfamiliar to you, you’re not alone. Many have no clue to what the phrase “bottled in bond” truly means.
To start, consider the phrase “Bottled In Bond” to be a craft certification of whiskeys today. Whiskey with this label is a mark of provenance and transparency, and is very relevant to many distillers today.
In the late 1800s, spirits drinkers came from all over the world, and alcohol was often transported in barrels which caused it to change flavor.
Kentucky distillers were undercut by those from Chicago that sold column-distilled neutral spirits like vodka and other related clear alcohols. Wholesalers would blend the grain spirit with artificial flavoring and additives as a way to stretch the whiskey. The worst of these additives was glycerine, caramel coloring, wood chips and formaldehyde.
However, amid pressure from distilleries in Kentucky, the federal government created a standard designation to protect consumers from false whiskey. The Bottled In Bond label is often recognized as one of the earliest examples of consumer protection law under government supervision.
It is mandated by law that whiskey that is Bottled In Bond go through rigorous hurdles. For instance, the brand of whiskey must be distilled by one distillery during a single distilling season. The distillate is then required to be aged in a federally bonded warehouse. Because of this, the Bottled In Bond label is unique in the expression of location. It is a very territorial label, and it definitely has a sense of place.
However, the labeling has since fallen out of favor with consumers over the past few decades. In the 1970’s and 80s, higher-proof Bourbon whiskey became less popular compared to lighter and blended Bourbon. At some point, bottling whiskey domestically just didn’t make that much sense.
There were a handful of distilleries that made Bottled In Bond spirits, but many bottles were left to collect dust on the bottom of shelves in liquor stores. They became abandoned by nearly all but whiskey connoisseurs.
The Comeback of Bottled In Bond Bourbon
Around 2014, many distilled spirits began to resurrect the Bottled In Bond label after years of requests from bartenders. Many distilleries have seen the popularity in higher-proof products, and have noticed the rise of customers among the craft-bartending community who enjoy using the products behind their counter – not only for the flavor, but also the price. The bigger proofs of Bottled In Bond spirits provide more flavor that pair well in cocktails. Today, many distilleries have adopted the Bottled In Bond label, adding its production to their line of products.
Many distilleries went hand-in-hand with the increase in craft-bartending movements that have swept the industry over the past decade. Today, there are more than two dozen distilleries across the country that churn out Bottled In Bond products. Many well known brands have adopted the Bottled In Bond label to ensure authenticity and appreciation in their whiskey production.
Despite restrictions, prices of Bottled In Bond spirits aren’t debilitating either. As more brands adopt spirits that are bottled-in-bond, consumers are continuing to rediscover their love for the label. Although Bottled In Bond is a production requirement, there is still uniqueness in spirits between one distiller and another. Behind each bonded label, there is an assurance of quality and achievement in drinking true American heritage.
Bottled In Bond Whiskey from New Riff
We are a new riff on an old tradition, that tradition being Kentucky Bourbon. Founded in 2014 by Ken Lewis, a visionary Kentucky liquor retailer and entrepreneur, New Riff is led by a team of corporate refugees ranging from craft beer to politics and more. New Riff crafts a range of whiskeys—Bourbon, High-Rye, and eventually Malted Rye and a host of specialty recipes—as well as Kentucky Wild Gin. Our mission is simple: to someday be counted among the world’s great small distilleries. Becoming one of the great small distilleries of the world is a long term play, with no exact ring to win, or title to be declared.
We are firmly grounded in Kentucky’s revered Bourbon legacy, but this is our riff. A new riff on arguably America’s greatest whiskey tradition: Bottled in Bond Without Chill Filtration. Follow us for news on Bottled In Bond Bourbon today.