Climate Change Claims Yet Another Victim: Kentucky Bourbon

To date, public concern about global warming has been well, lukewarm. Apparently rising sea levels, threatened species, and the disappearance of winter are not especially compelling reasons to jump on the climate change bandwagon. But the potential demise of Kentucky Bourbon? now that could get some picket signs flying. In a study for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, researcher Mike Jones of American University determined that "In the future, global warming may affect the weather patterns which are essential in Kentucky for the (bourbon) aging process." Like most fine spirits, the production of quality Kentucky Bourbon depends on precise yet subtle elements like temperature and barrel preparation. The whisky is aged in treated barrels made of white oak which are then carefully stored to take advantage of seasonal temperature fluctuations. "When the temperature rises in the summer, the bourbon expands," Jones says, "and with lower temperatures in the winter, it contracts. This movement gives the bourbon its amber color and oak flavor."
Via NRDC OnEarth Magazine