Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Bottled-in-Bond: An Old Law for Modern Times


One of government’s most basic jobs is ensuring that things we buy and use are what they claim to be. Rules enforced by various agencies regulate what can be said about food, medicine, stocks, bonds, insurance, the hidden contents of mattresses, and, of course, whiskey.

In the United States, regulation of whiskey marketing began with the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897. It is surprisingly lively for a 126-year-old law. 

That is a short preview of my latest "Back In The Day" column, appearing in the Winter issue of Bourbon+ Magazine, which is available now. I have been on the last page of Bourbon+ with my musings on American whiskey history in every issue since #1. This new one begins the magazine's fifth year (and we're on only our third editor). 

BIB was just about dead when craft distilling got going, and the crafts have seized on it as a 'coming of age' milestone. As I write in the piece, "If you want to prove you are a real distillery committed to making and selling mature whiskey you made there yourself, you make a bond." (Click here to read the whole thing.)

The idea of this free sample from the magazine, naturally, is to induce you to subscribe, which I recommend. If you want to start your subscription with this issue, subscribe by February 6th. 

Bourbon+ covers American whiskey and everything around it like no one else. It is a beautiful magazine with good writing that goes nicely with a little 'red likker.' 

If you would like to order a copy of just this issue, click here.

A side note. Since I wrote the column, I have learned that the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897 was formally repealed in 1979, but the requirements for using the 'Bottled-in-Bond' or 'Bonded' designation were incorporated into the Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits, administered by the Alcohol Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) of the United States Treasury Department.


Unknown said...

Chuck, am I reading this correctly? BIB has been repealed?

Chuck Cowdery said...

Technically, yes, but its provisions all still exist in other laws and rules. It didn't so much get repealed as moved.

Tom Johnson said...

I think everyone should read Tom Johnson's article about the trade in used barrels for finishing spirits. It's really interesting, and I'm not just saying that because Tom and I are very close. Very.

The Bottled in Bond thing was good too. I don't remember who wrote it.