Indiana Rye Whiskey is a protected whiskey category now

The legal designation of the origin of the whiskey is intended to strengthen Indiana's economy and tourism


Earlier this year, State Representative Chris May, in collaboration with Jeff McCabe, owner of the Hard Truth Distilling Company in Nashville, Indiana, has introduced a bill to regulate the labelling of Indiana Rye Whiskey. The law has now been signed and went into effect on July 1, 2021.

There are more than 30 whiskey distilleries in Indiana

Kentucky Bourbon or Tennessee Whiskey are well known to us as whiskey categories, in future we can also expect the word "Indiana Rye" on American whiskey labels. The Distilled Spirits Council lists more than 30 whiskey distilleries for Indiana. These include a large number of small craft distilleries, but also the MGP Distillery in Lawrenceburg, where whiskeys such as Bulleit Rye, Dickel Rye or Redemption Rye are produced. Around 25,600 jobs are linked to the spirits industry in this American state.

May and McCabe hope to strengthen the economy and tourism through the regional protection of the Indiana Rye Whiskey. "We want Indiana to be as popular for its rye whiskey as it is for basketball and racing," May said. "Establishing that market, both in sales and tourism, might one day put the success of our state's distilleries on par with that of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail."

The criteria for Indiana Rye Whiskey

Bill 1409 defines the requirements that a whiskey must meet in order to come onto the market as Indiana Rye Whiskey:

  • It must be manufactured in Indiana
  • The proportion of rye in the mash bill must be at least 51%
  • The distillation must not go higher than 160 proof / 80% alcohol by volume
  • The whiskey must age in new, charred white oak barrels
  • The spirit is allowed to be placed in the barrel with a maximum of 125 proof / 62.5% alcohol by volume
  • The barrels must rest in a rack house in Indiana for at least two years
  • When being bottled, the alcohol content must be less than 40% alcohol by volume

Those who are interested in the exact legal text of Bill 1409 can find it here.


Image 1: Creative Commons
Image 2: Indiana House of Representatives,
Press Release



State Representativ Chris May (left) and Jeff McCabe, Hard Truth Distilling Co (right)