Whiskey Nips: Grain to Glass
There are many terms and distinctions that brands use to market their their products and try to make them stand out from the crowd. Things like single barrel, small batch, bottled in bond, and handcrafted, are a few common terms that you may see. Some of these terms have strict definitions, such as bottled in bond, where the product has to be distilled in one season, by one distillery, aged 4 years in a federally bonded warehouse, and bottled at 100 proof. The term small batch has no definition. It could be 2 barrels or even 200 barrels. As the craft movement continues to rise, there is a new marketing term that brands are using, grain to glass.
Now what does that mean exactly? Well, it depends on the distillery, because the term has no legal definition. To some distilleries it means that they grow all their grains that they use in their products themselves, while others may mean that they source their grains within a certain radius of their distillery. The basis for this term, is that craft distillers wanted to set themself apart from the big guys. What has become popular in the food culture, eating local, is now popular in bourbon.
Don’t let these marketing terms mislead you as a consumer. Make sure you understand that some have a defined meaning, while others could have some meaning to them, but you have to read more about the brands use of the term and what they define it as. There have been some distilleries that have really stretched the term grain to glass, confusing and misleading a lot of consumers. This hurts other distilleries that use the term in a more honest way. Some of the information you can get from the back of the bottle, but you may have to do a little bit of online research to figure out who is more transparent with the use of the grain to glass term.