Should Craft Bourbon Be Taken Off Its Pedestal?

With the recent popularity of all things “craft,” more and more craft bourbon distilleries seem to be popping up. But how many are actually craft, and how much of the movement is a product of savvy marketing?

In Reid Mitenbuler’s new book, Bourbon Empire: The Past and Future of America’s Whiskey, he reveals the secrets of the craft bourbon distillers, reports NPRMitenbuler peels back some of the layers to whiskey marketing, much of it playing on our “patriotic nostalgia” via antique recipes and deep roots in tradition, with pictures and names on labels that allude to historical figures. While part of the same tactics, old-fashioned distillation methods aren’t necessarily the true marks of a great bourbon, either. According to Mitenbuler, whiskies created in column stills can taste better than their counterparts created in “beautiful relics of a bygone era”—aka pot stills.

The biggest myth of all when it comes to good bourbon? The pedestal that “small-batch” has been placed on. Size doesn’t influence the taste of a whiskey—the skill of the distiller does. [NPR] [Photo:]