Those Wild and Wacky Late 1960s.

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Those Wild and Wacky Late 1960s.

Unread postby cowdery » Wed May 12, 2010 1:31 am

In the late 1960s, some of the major producers appealed to the feds for a number of changes to the Standards of Identity. They wanted to redefine bourbon, straight rye, etc., to allow higher distillation proof, higher barrel entry proof, used barrels, etc. Most of the proposed changes were rejected and instead the "Light Whiskey" category was created. I stumbled across the attached document which details the ATF's reasons for the changes it did and did not accept. It's pretty interesting reading for the extremely geeky like me.
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Circular 68-3 1968.pdf
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- Chuck Cowdery

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Re: Those Wild and Wacky Late 1960s.

Unread postby cowdery » Wed May 12, 2010 11:31 pm

I know, it's nine pages with no pictures. Here are a few highlights.

"The removal of the present regulatory restrictions referred to would facilitate the production of whiskies to be marketed as bourbon, rye, etc., or 'straight' whisky which generally lack the distinguishing characteristics of such whiskies, and this would not be in the interests of the consumer."

"Several studies proved conclusively that whiskies distilled at more than 160° proof mature satisfactorily in used cooperage. Canadian, Scotch, and Irish whiskies are composed primarily of whisky so matured."

"The higher distillation proof produces a distillate containing less pronounced natural flavoring components (both desirable and undesirable ones). Thus a smaller amount of wood extractives is needed to produce a balanced, palatable whisky. Whiskies distilled at such higher proofs are matured abroad in American used charred oak containers, 'small wood,' sherry casks, sherry butts, or other oak containers of varying capacities. Storing of such whisky in charred new oak containers would not produce a balanced whisky since it would be overburdened with wood extractives. Consistent with the higher distillation proof, such whiskies may be properly entered for storage at proofs higher than 125°."

"The present regulations with respect to whisky distilled at not exceeding 160° proof are appropriate for the traditional American types but discriminate against the domestic production of whisky distilled at high distillation proof and stored in used cooperage. Although the latter type of whisky is properly matured in used containers, the regulations prohibit it from bearing the normal age statement and require the statement 'stored _____ years in reused cooperage.' This statement, although descriptive of the actual maturing process, adversely affects marketability. The appearance of a storage statement is likely to mislead the consumer into believing the product to be inferior because it was matured in used containers instead of new oak containers. In fact, the product properly matures in used containers although it is different in character than the traditional American types of whiskies."

"The names of states which are associated in the consumer's mind with the production of the American types of whiskies shall not be permitted to be featured on the labels and in the advertising of 'light whisky' or 'blended light whisky.'"

"The practice of adding powdered oak, or wood chips, whether large (slabs) or small in size, in order to make up for deficiencies in wood extractives resulting from excessive barrel size is limited by the regulatory requirement that where such materials are used the label state such fact."

"No need was established for a minimum age requirement for current domestic types of whisky. There are no appreciable amounts of immature whiskies currently being sold. Although some whisky is being offered at less than two years of age, this is, in the main, corn whisky. In any event, the present regulations protect the consumer by requiring all whiskies less than four years old to bear a true age statement."
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Re: Those Wild and Wacky Late 1960s.

Unread postby delaware_phoenix » Thu May 13, 2010 7:38 am

The TTB's Beverage Alcohol Manual lists all the spirits and whether they are required or not to have an age statement (or whether they can have one or not). The manual says everything as though it can never vary, but the label for Old Potrero 18th Century Style Whisky says

Pot distilled from 100% rye malt mash & aged 1 year 7 months in new and used uncharred oak barrels


so some leeway is allowed so long as the pertinent information is properly described. (Actually there are simply additional words "Pot" and "100%" which makes it fancier as we all know that pot distilled is better than column distilled :lol: )
Cheryl Lins - Proprietor and distiller, Delaware Phoenix Distillery, Walton, NY
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