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American single malt whiskey nearing legit status

The American single malt whiskey category is one of the most exciting areas of craft spirits at the moment and its continued development has caught a lot of attention lately. The spirit was pioneered in the 90’s by Clear Creek Distillery and shortly thereafter by the likes of St. George Distillery and Stanahan’s. Today there are over 100 distilleries producing American single malt whiskey in the United States.

The category has thus far operated on the honor system, but as the market grows a group of distillers have banded together to form the American Single Malt Commission to try to get a definition formally recognized. The definition they are seeking would define an American single malt whiskey as: from a single distillery, distilled of 100% malted barley, matured in oak casks not exceeding 700 liters, bottled at more than 80 proof, and distilled to no more than 160 proof.

More than 60 of the 100 American single malt whiskey producers are already on board with the definition and, even more promising, the TTB is on board with the idea as well. The next big hurdle will be clearing the Treasury Department which is in charge of creating new label regulations, but the commission is well on its way and they hope to see the definition confirmed within the next year.

Source: Wine & Spirits Daily, August 2017