Bourbon Truly American Despite Foreign Ties

Jan 14, 2014

Whiskey insiders say Kentucky bourbon remains authentically American, even when some distillers answer to foreign companies.

The planned $13.6 billion acquisition of the owner of Jim Beam and Maker's Mark by a Japanese company adds two more classic brands to the lineup of bourbon staples tied to foreign-based parent companies. Wild Turkey and Four Roses are other historic brands with foreign ownership connections.

But the stuff is made almost exclusively in the Bluegrass state, and some of its master distillers have family ties going as far back as the state's pioneer whiskey-making days.

In a booming industry that swears by tradition, that history is a valuable commodity. And it reassures aficionados that while the mailing address for some corporate headquarters may change, the taste of the bourbon won't.