American Single Malt Whiskey Might Become a Regulated Category in Early 2022
There are no restrictions on what can legally be called American Single Malt Whiskey, meaning any old bourbon labeled as American single malt is acceptable.
However, that all could change shortly after introducing a new rule providing a legal definition for American single malt whiskey will be published this December, according to the American Single Malt Whiskey Commission.
According to the Spirits Business, “The American Single Malt Whiskey Commission (ASMWC) was set up in 2016 to “establish, promote and protect” the American single malt whiskey category. The commission comprises more than 120 members, who are working to secure a formal definition of the burgeoning whiskey style.”
American Single Malt Whiskey Defining Factors
The definition put forth by the ASMWC mandates that American single malts must be made from 100% malted barley; distilled entirely at one distillery; mashed, distilled and matured in the U.S.; matured in oak casks of no more than 700 liters; distilled to no more than 80% ABV; and bottled at 40% ABV or more.
As early as next spring, many whiskeys might be required to change their labels if they don’t comply with the new regulations. For example, Balcones Texas Single Malt Whiskey may not be allowed to call itself “Texas Single Malt” and would need to either change to American single malt or nix the title altogether.
With that in mind, there are many legal aspects of the U.S. whiskey industry that are changing. Indiana Rye is now finally a legally binding regional style of American whiskey, which is another change that has impacted the industry immensely, especially in that state. It will be interesting to see how the new regulations will impact distilleries across the country.
In the meantime, slap the single malt title on as many whiskeys as you can; six months from now, that may no longer be an option.
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