Small batch whiskey

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"Small batch" redirects here. For the EP by The Cannanes, see Small Batch (EP).
File:Black ridge small batch bourbon.jpg
A small batch Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey.[1]

Small batch whiskey is a term usually referring to American whiskey that denotes a whiskey produced by mixing the contents of a relatively small number of selected barrels. Small-batch whiskeys are positioned for the upper-premium market, and are typically aged from six to nine years in oak barrels,[2] but more limited series aged at least up to 23 years are also available. The majority of small batch whiskeys are produced in Kentucky, the state most traditionally associated with whiskey (and especially with bourbon).[citation needed]


There are generally no clear criteria as to what defines a "small batch" – for example, there are no federal regulations that define the use of the term in the United States.[3] Many producers of whiskeys labeled as such do not provide a clear indication of what they mean by the term.

Batch sizes

  • Jefferson's Bourbon – Jefferson's Reserve ("Very Small Batch") gives its 750ml bottles a number "x" of 2400 bottles in the batch. This would equate to about 9 typical bourbon barrels, each 53 US gallons (200 L) in size.
  • George Dickel uses "approximately 10 barrels" of whiskey to make each batch of its Barrel Select Tennessee Whiskey brand.[4]
  • Willett Distillery (also known as Kentucky Bourbon Distillers), a producer of bourbon and rye whiskey, uses at most 12 barrels[5] per batch for its small batch brands.
  • Maker's Mark (Beam Suntory) says that the traditional definition is a whiskey produced using "approximately 1,000 gallons or less (20 barrels) from a mash bill of around 200 bushels of grain".[6][7][8]
  • Bernheim Original (Heaven Hill) says that a small batch would involve "typically no more than 100" barrels.[9]

Brands that bottle from small batches

Brands and brand expressions that are advertised as small batch bourbon whiskey include 1792 Ridgemont Reserve,[10] Basil Hayden's,[2] Maker's Mark,[7][8] and Rowan's Creek.[11]

Brands and brand expressions that are advertised as small batch Tennessee whiskey include Dickel Barrel Select.[4]

Brands and brand expressions advertised as small batch rye whiskey include Rebel Yell Small Batch Rye.[12][13]

See also


  1. "Bourbon Review – Black Ridge Small Batch Bourbon". Modern Thirst. January 13, 2014. Retrieved 2016-04-12. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Fortune Brands - Jim Beam small batch brands company web site
  3. "The Beverage Alcohol Manual (BAM) - Chapter 1 Mandatory Label Information, Chapter 4 Class and Type Designation". The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Barrel Select". George A. Dickel & Co. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  5. Ken Miller, In a Willett state of mind at the Freakin' Frog, Las Vegas Weekly, October 8, 2011.
  6. Maker's Mark Bourbon Glossary, official web site.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Maker's Mark Distillery Tour in Loretto, KY Watch it made in the U.S.A.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Bourbon – Maker's Mark, Edencroft Fine Wines.
  9. "Frequently Asked Questions – What does small batch mean?", Bernheim Original official web site.
  10. Sazerac - Barton Brands company web site
  11. Kentucky Bourbon Distillers company web site
  12. "Rebel Yell Small Batch Rye". Rebel Yell official web site. Retrieved 2016-04-12. 
  13. Peters, Josh (June 22, 2015). "Rebel Yell Small Batch Rye Review". The Whiskey Jug. Retrieved 2016-04-12.