What Is Rye Whiskey?

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What Is Rye Whiskey?

Rathskeller Rye

A Rye Whiskey, or more commonly called a Rye, is whiskey made anywhere in the United States that follows a strict set of regulations as set forth in the Spirits Act of 1964.

The regulations set forth in the Spirits Act are as follows:

  • Rye must be made from a mashbill comprised of at least 51% rye with the remainder of the mashbill comprised of any combination of wheat, rye and barley.  All three need not be included.
  • Rye must be stored in new, charred oak barrels.
  • Rye must enter the barrel at no greater than 125-proof (62.5% alcohol by volume).
  • Rye cannot be distilled beyond 160-proof.
  • Rye must be bottled at a minimum of 80-proof (40% alcohol by volume).
  • Once distilled, rye can receive no added colors or flavoring.

Straight Rye must follow all of the regulations that Rye does, but also must be aged for a minimum of 2 years and if aged less than 4 years, must have a precise age statement on the bottle. This means that all Straight Rye Whiskey expressions that lack an age-statement are at least 4 years old.

Some examples of each type of Rye we’ve looked at are listed below:
Rye: Old Pogue Five Fathers, Hudson Manhattan Rye
Straight Rye: Pikesville Rye, Willett Family Estate Small Batch Rye, Knob Creek Rye

See Our Instagram Feed of Rye Whiskey Below: