A friend recently asked if I knew anything about Old Fourth Distillery out of Atlanta, specifically about a Bottled in Bond straight bourbon they had recently released. I did not, so I googled their website and did a little reading. I also looked up their COLA label approval. The Bottled in Bond Act has some very specific requirements about labeling. At first glance from what I read I thought surely they had distilled this bourbon, they fooled me. Their website proudly proclaims, “Atlanta’s Own Straight Bourbon Whiskey Aged 4 Years”. The website says they knew they wanted to make whiskey when they opened in 2012, they barreled this bourbon in Jan. 2015, and it’s taken 4 years for the initial release. It’s very careful wording without ever saying distilled. The friend then sent me a blown-up picture of their label zooming in on some print hidden in some artwork that showed DSP-IN-15023. Can you spot this in the picture below?
The “IN” portion indicated this bourbon was distilled in Indiana. One would then assume the likely source would be MGPi, but their DSP is IN-15016. Despite the dubious DSP number, I have confirmed this was distilled by MGPi.
I emailed one of their owners to express my concerns about the deceptive website information as well as to bring to their attention some specific sections in the TTB code they are violating. It’s been a week with no response, so the blog is going up without comment from them.
They are in violation of 27 CFR 5.36 (d), which I have blogged or posted about many times. If certain types of whiskies are distilled in 1 state but bottled in another, then the label must have a ‘Distilled in XYZ state’ statement. In this case, they must say Distilled in IN on the label.
For Bottled in Bond spirits, the code says “27 CFR 5.42 (b) (3) – the label shall bear the real name of the distillery or the trade name under which the distillery produced and warehoused the spirits, and the plant (or registered distillery) number in which produced; and the plant number in which bottled. The label may also bear the name or trade name of the bottler.” While they list an IN DSP number cleverly buried in the artwork, they don’t list MGPi by name nor do they list their DSP number on the label as required by this code.
It must take a lot of work to be this deceptive. It would be so much easier to be upfront with customers about your process and sourcing. Plenty of companies such as Smooth Ambler, High West, and others have found much success with the upfront disclosure business models. In 2019, I’m surprised we still find those that like to engage in such deception. Shame, Shame, Shame.
Update – I emailed a preview of the above blog post and did receive a response from one of the owners. He said “We are very sorry that you feel deceived by our product. We openly tell our customers that we sourced the white whiskey from mgp and aged it 4 years in Georgia.”
Here is link to their website page on this bourbon; you can decide for yourself if they are being open that it is sourced whiskey. https://o4d.com/bottled-in-bond/