Ah, the bar bets.
The know-it-all tells you bourbon can only be made in Kentucky so you book the bet and ask the barkeep to hand you a bottle of Virginia Gentleman Bourbon, made in Virginia. Easy.
A. Smith Bowman, in Fredericksburg, Virginia, is now owned by Sazerac/Buffalo Trace. About a year ago they launched a line of Abraham Bowman small batch bourbons and ryes. They also killed, I thought, the more pedestrian Virginia Gentleman brand.
Joe Dangler, the long-time Master Distiller at Bowman, will retire soon (exactly when is up to him). His replacement will be Truman Cox, Chief Chemist at Buffalo Trace in Frankfort, who moves to Virginia this week.
I was talking to Cox recently and learned that while they did discontinue the 90 proof Virginia Gentleman expression, known as 'the fox' for its fox-hunting scene label, the venerable old 80 proof VG continues to be made. It's nothing special, just a good, standard bourbon, mostly distributed in Virginia.
But if you see it on a back bar somewhere else, there is money to be made.