What is Bottled in Bond?

Quality Regulation
Redline Bottled in Bond
Floyd Murphy

Floyd Murphy

Founder, Whiskey Shelf

In the world of distilled spirits, authenticity and quality are highly valued. One hallmark of such standards is the Bottled in Bond Act, a piece of legislation that has played a crucial role in shaping the American whiskey industry. Enacted in 1897, the Bottled in Bond Act was a response to concerns about adulteration and mislabeling of whiskey, providing consumers with a guarantee of authenticity and quality. In this article, we will delve into the history, significance, and key provisions of the Bottled in Bond Act.

The Historical Context

The late 19th century witnessed a surge in the production and consumption of distilled spirits in the United States. However, this boom was accompanied by a darker side – the widespread adulteration and misrepresentation of whiskey. Unscrupulous producers would dilute their products with harmful substances, compromising both the quality and safety of the spirits. Recognizing the need for regulation, the U.S. government took a significant step by passing the Bottled in Bond Act on March 3, 1897.

Key Provisions of the Act

The Bottled in Bond (BIB) Act introduced several key provisions to ensure the integrity of American whiskey. Some of the essential elements include:

Distillation at a Single Distillery:

To be labeled as “Bottled in Bond or BIB,” the whiskey must be the product of one distillation season and one distillery. This provision ensures transparency in the production process.

Aged for at Least Four Years:

The whiskey must be aged in a federally bonded warehouse for a minimum of four years. This requirement contributes to the development of rich and complex flavors, distinguishing Bottled in Bond whiskeys from their counterparts.

100 Proof:

The Bottled in Bond Act mandates that the whiskey must be bottled at 100 proof (50% alcohol by volume). This higher proof not only enhances the spirit’s character but also serves as a testament to its authenticity.

Government Supervision:

The production and bottling of Bottled in Bond whiskey are subject to strict government supervision. Federal agents monitor the entire process, from distillation to bottling, to ensure compliance with the act.

Bottled in Bond Rickhouse

Significance in Today’s Whiskey Landscape

Over a century later, the Bottled in Bond designation continues to hold immense value in the whiskey industry. It has become a symbol of trust and quality for consumers seeking a genuine and traditional American spirit. Many distilleries proudly produce Bottled in Bond whiskeys, adhering to the stringent regulations set forth by the act. 

Some well known Bottled in Bond examples are:
Heaven Hill 6-Year-Old BIB, Old Forester 1897 BIB and Henry McKenna Single Barrel BIB