Society of Wine Educators Inc.

08/01/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 08/01/2021 10:57

Don’t Mess with Indiana Rye



The state of Indiana-located just north of Kentucky in the great American Midwest-is known for many things, including the great city of Indianapolis, the Hoosiers, the Pacers, the Indy 500, and sandwiches made of fried pork tenderloin.

To whiskey aficionados, however, the state may be all about rye. Some of this is due to the state's 5 million acres of grain fields; and some of this is because Indiana is one of the largest producers of rye whiskey in the country.

Indiana is home to more than 30 distilleries, producing a wide range of spirits from vodka to gin and many styles of whiskey. The state is also home to the Lawrenceburg campus of MGP Distilling: the largest producer of rye whiskey in the United States. In addition to producing its own brands-Redemption Rye and Rossville Union Straight Rye Whiskey-MGP supplies the base spirit for many types, styles, and brands of rye whiskey across the continent. (For the record, MGP Distilling-one of the oldest and largest distilleries in the United States, produces a wide range of other products including a range of whiskies, neutral spirits, industrial alcohol, gin, and everything in-between.)



July 1 (2021) is an important day in the story of Indiana Rye Whisky. As of this day, a new bill-House Bill 1409, championed by Indiana State Representative Chris May and enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Indiana-has come into force and declared Indiana Rye to be a legally-defined, regional designation for American whiskey.

It will be interesting to see how some of Indiana's more notable artisan whisky distilleries-including the Hard Truth Distilling Company, the Indiana Whiskey Company, Bear Wallow Distillery, and the Old 55 Distillery -approach Indiana Rye now that the designation is official.

According to the law, Indiana Rye must be produced according to the following standards:

  • Produced in the State of Indiana
  • Produced from grain contain a minimum of 51% rye
  • Distilled to no more than 160° (80% abv)
  • Placed in charred, new, White Oak barrels at no more than 125°
  • Aged in a rack house in Indiana for a minimum of two years
  • Bottled at a minimum of 40% abv

According to the legal documentation, the following terms may be used on a label of Official Indiana Rye: Indiana Rye, Indiana Rye Whiskey (or Whisky), Indiana Sweet Mash Rye Whiskey (or Whisky), Indiana Sour Mash Rye Whiskey (or Whisky). Note that either spelling-with or without the e-is considered acceptable.

Indiana Rye now joins the ranks of state-specific American Whiskeys alongside Kentucky Bourbon, Tennessee Whiskey, and the lesser-known (but official nevertheless) Missouri Bourbon. Any guesses as to what state may be next?

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Post authored by Jane A. Nickles…your blog administrator: [email protected]