Bourbon Heritage Month - Bourbon Whiskey - Library of Congress

During Bourbon Heritage Month we celebrate “Bourbon Whiskey” as a distinctive product of the United States as declared by the U.S. Congress on May 4, 1964. On that Spring day, the sun shone brightly over our union as our government set the record straight and signed what some call the Declaration of Independence for Bourbon. But, it was not until 2014 that another part of that recognition of America’s native spirit was declared missing. It turns out, that for those 50 years, the Library of Congress of the United States did not, repeat did not have a Library of Congress Subject Heading assigned to “Bourbon Whiskey.” It was as if Bourbon didn’t exist. Gasp!

On a Quest to Fix this Gap
Bourbon Heritage Month - Douglas A. Boyd, Director, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries

Once this oversight was discovered, Douglas A. Boyd (above), Director, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky Libraries went on a personal mission to fix this error, you might say a quest. Mr. Boyd enlisted the support of many industry experts to help gather the necessary information to present his case to the officials in Washington D.C. that could help rectify this travesty.

Here are some excerpts from his journey of discovery and eventual euphoria as he went on his journey to right this wrong. You can also hear the testimony of many of these patriots in their own words in the video below.

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Bourbon Built America
Bourbon Heritage Month - Eric Gregory, President of the Kentucky Distillers' Association

“What the hell took so long? We’ve been around for 200 years. Bourbon built America. I mean, the Whiskey Rebellion was all about paying for the revolutionary war.”
~ Eric Gregory, President of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association

There Was a Gap in the Record. We Knew We Had to Act
bourbon-heritage-month-bertram-lyons-american-folklore-center

“In 2013 when Doug came to lecture at the library of congress. When he took the stage, the first thing he said when he addressed the audience was that there was a gap in the record. We are the library of Congress, of Congress. The U.S. Library of Congress and we had missed it. We had a subject heading for Champagne. That’s French, that’s not American. We really knew we had to act.”
~ Bertram Lyons, Former Folklife Specialist, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

A Common Term that is Used by the Community
Bourbon Heritage Month - Kathryn Lybarger, Metadata Specialist

“Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) are made in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. And they are some of the best subject headings on the world. (LCSH has been actively maintained since 1898 to catalog materials held at the Library of Congress.) A good subject heading should be descriptive, it should be unique and it should be the term that is used by the community. Subject headings turn a catalogue into a discovery system.”
~Kathryn Lybarger, Metadata Specialist, University of Kentucky Libraries

Bourbon Deserves Official Recognition
Bourbon Heritage Month - US Senator Mitch McConnell

“Just as Scotch Whiskey is a distinctive product of Scotland, Canadian Whiskey is a distinctive product of Canada, and Cognac a distinctive product of the Cognac region of France, all with official government recognition. Bourbon deserves the distinction that comes with official recognition as well.”
~ U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell

God Made Kentucky to Make Bourbon
Bourbon Heritage Month - Fred Noe, 7th Generation Master Distiller at Jim Beam

“God made Kentucky to make Bourbon and that’s why we make Bourbon, right here in Kentucky. And we make the world’s best Bourbon, right here.”
~Fred Noe, 7th Generation Master Distillery at Jim Beam Distillery

We Did It! Bourbon Whiskey Recognized by the Library of Congress.
Bourbon Heritage Month - Bourbon Whiskey - Library of Congress 2

“Following an intense period of extensive research and vetting, and I can imagine probably some tasting. In early May of 2014 it was made official, thanks to the American Folklife Center, the Library of Congress, “Bourbon Whiskey” became a Library of Congress subject heading. We did it.”
~Douglas A. Boyd, Director, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries

Bourbon Whiskey Now a Part of the Worlds Vocabulary
Bourbon Heritage Month - David Ferriero, Archivast of the United States

“As Archivist of the United States I will sleep better knowing that Bourbon Whiskey is now a Library of Congress subject heading. Finally, this uniquely American spirit will take its rightful place as part of the greatest standardized vocabulary in the world.”
~ David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States

Thanks to All the Brave Men and Women That Made This Possible

“Many thanks to Doug and the University of Kentucky’s Nunn Center and the Library of Congress for making this designation. Just as we are defined by standards of identity to produce the world’s greatest Bourbon, history and libraries are defined by standards. And without those standards, Bourbon and history would fall apart.”
~ Eric Gregory, President of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association

Please enjoy Bourbon history responsibly.

Here’s the entire video. Enjoy!

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