Friday, December 18, 2009

Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame Inducts U.S. President William Howard Taft.

Kentucky’s signature Bourbon industry last night marked the 100th anniversary of a landmark decision by President William Howard Taft at a ceremony to induct the former leader into the prestigious Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame.

In December 1909, President Taft released an official decision that defined whiskey standards in the United States. Before that time, imitators trying to capitalize on the growing success of Kentucky Bourbon often made counterfeit whiskey using artificial colors and flavors.

But Taft’s decision set the standard for how whiskey is labeled – straight, blended or imitation – and protected the time-honored process of Kentucky Bourbon. “By such an order as this decision indicates,” Taft wrote, “the public will be made to know exactly the kind of whisky they buy and drink…

“It injures no man’s lawful business, because it only insists upon the statement of the truth in the label.”

In recognition of the anniversary of his historic act, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association Board of Directors unanimously voted to induct Taft into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame. The ceremony took place last night at the Governor’s Mansion in Frankfort, hosted by Gov. and Mrs. Steven L. Beshear.

Taft, born in 1857 in Cincinnati, Ohio, was President from 1909-1913 and later the 10th Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. He died in 1930.


sku said...

Wow, I had no idea Taft actually did something during his term. Good for him.

Sam Komlenic said...

Wait a minute, Chuck. Wouldn't imitators also have been trying to capitalize on Pennsylvania and Maryland rye's success, too? I'd be willing to bet that there's nothing in the Taft decision that mentions Kentucky, not that it wouldn't be wholly appropriate for them to recognize this important contribution to the industry as a whole.

A lot of "distilleries" both north and south of the Mason-Dixon line disappeared shortly after this decision, to the ultimate benefit of the American drinking public.

Love the blog, BTW. Actually signed up for a Google account just so's I could comment.

Chuck Cowdery said...

Good catch, Sam. "Bourbon and rye" would have been more accurate than "Kentucky Bourbon," but they did it at the Kentucky Governor's Mansion and it was put on by the Kentucky Distillers Association, so you can see where they're coming from.

You're correct that "Kentucky" wasn't mentioned in the Taft Decision.

I omitted some even more Kentucky-centric statements that were in the original press release.