Bottled in Bond (BiB) is a term, typically applied to whiskey, that used to be synonymous with “the good stuff” and came about due to the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897. It was a sign that what was inside the bottle had been certified by the government to be exactly what it said it was. This act was put into place as a response to people faking whiskey and as a measure to help distillers with their tax payments. It made it so they didn’t have to pay the taxes on bonded alcohol till it left the warehouse.
In addition to signifying it was authentic whiskey, Bottled in Bond also became a term that symbolized value which, for the most part, it still does today. Most BiB whiskey checks in around the $20-$30 range and, due to the government regulations around the term, are delivered at 100 proof and are at least 4 years of age. Though there’s more to it than just that. Here’s a list of all the requirements any distilled beverage must meet to carry the term Bottled in Bond on its label.
Bottled In Bond Requirements
- 100% of the liquid must have been distilled in the same distilling season (calendar year).
- That distilling must have been done by a single distillery.
- Aged for a minimum of 4 years in a federally bonded warehouse.
- Bottled at 100 proof (50% ABV).
- The label must clearly state the distillery who made it.
- If it was bottled at a location other than the distillery it must also clearly state its bottling location.
- Cannot have anything other than water added to the liquid.
One misconception people have about Bottled in Bond is that it’s purely a whiskey term. While whiskey is currently the biggest employer of the Bottled In Bond term, it can be applied to any and all barrel-aged beverages distilled in the United states. Two current examples are Laird’s Apple Brady and Heaven Hill’s new bonded brandy. Though seeing as how it’s the minority I wouldn’t fault anyone who thought Bottled In Bond was only a whiskey term.
If you’re interested in reading more about the tax side of what the Bottled In Bond Act did for distillers, or other whiskey related laws, check out this article I wrote for History Buff: 7 Laws That Shaped American Whiskey.
Until next time, happy drinking.