We’re not one to celebrate all of the national holidays you hear about these days. But when we heard National Bourbon Day was coming up, we decided this was a holiday we could get behind (even though technically we celebrate bourbon every day.)
In honor of the holiday, we wanted to share a bit about bourbon history and the history of our wonderful distillery. So, if you decide to celebrate the holiday tonight with a glass of the good stuff, you can toast to the fine distillers of the past who helped establish bourbon as America’s Native Spirit.
Bourbon History: Bourbon whiskey is a distinctly American product that has been produced in this country since the eighteenth century. Bourbon can be made in any U.S. state but the vast majority of it comes from Kentucky and can claim to be world-renowned Kentucky Bourbon. As defined by federal standards, Bourbon Whiskey must be stored in charred new oak barrels at not more than 125 proof and it must contain at least 51% corn. At Green River, most of the corn we use is from right here in Daviess county. There is no set minimum time for bourbon to age in a barrel, with the exception of straight bourbon whiskey which must age in a barrel for at least two years.
Bourbon in Owensboro: Our region has a rich bourbon history. Owensboro has been a hub for bourbon production because of its location along a rail line and waterway, its tremendous limestone water source, its extensive oak forests, and because local farmers have always produced a great deal of corn.
Bourbon at Our Distillery: The site of the Green River Distillery has housed distilleries for nearly 130 years. The original Green River Distillery, built in 1885, was the first in Owensboro and a major producer of Kentucky Bourbon for more than 30 years. In 1918 the entire distillery burned to the ground. It was rebuilt in 1936 after prohibition, and most of the buildings on our grounds today date back to the late 1930s. In 1940 it was purchased by the Medley family and continued to produce significant quantities of Bourbon as the Charles Medley Distillers Kentucky until 1993. The original Green River was known for its quality whiskey, and we’re proud to bring the same commitment to the best ingredients, craftsmanship and tradition today. Our Master Distiller Jacob Call is an eighth-generation distiller and Kentuckian, and he (and all of us!) couldn’t be more excited to be crafting bourbon and rye under the Green River flag again.
So this National Bourbon Day, maybe now you’ll know a little more about the local connection to America’s Native Spirit when you settle in with a glass. Cheers!