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The ultimate flavor and quality of Bourbon is greatly influenced by the type of water used at each stage of the production process, since the grain can contain up to 60% water. Back in the home of bourbon, the water is known as Kentucky Limestone Water. Deep beneath the surface, there is a natural filtering mechanism that initiates everything. Natural springs and underground rivers replenish aquifers, and the water gradually trickles through old sedimentary limestone rock shelves, removing the iron content and adding other important minerals, like calcium and magnesium, that are key to the distilling process. During the fermentation process, the yeast consumes the essential minerals that the limestone adds to the water. The removal of the iron enables the water to react with the ingredients in the oak barrel to cause the wonderful amber color of the Bourbon.

Is Kentucky Limestone Water Essential?

All bourbon is whiskey, but all whiskey is not bourbon! Kentucky bourbon is distinguished from rivals by its distinctive limestone water. However, how significant is it really? For a product to legally be called bourbon, the spirit must include at least 51% corn in order to be permitted to be marketed as bourbon. Secondly, it needs to mature in recently burned oak barrels and additionally, it must be produced in the US. However, there is absolutely no regulation dictating what kind of water can be used! Even some of the historical Kentucky distillers that used to use limestone water, are now using water from the Louisville Kentucky Water Company that is treated with a process called reverse osmosis. While limestone water is steeped in the history of traditional bourbon, it is far from essential!

Clean, Pure Rocky Mountain Water

Branch & Barrel’s Colorado craft bourbon is made grain-to-glass from local corn, wheat, barley, and pure Rocky Mountain water. We are lucky enough to have access to our own system of local wells out on the plains that are fed by the Arapahoe aquifer that provides us with mineral infused perfection! This underground water source is nourished by Rocky Mountain snow melt, and we even went so far as to obtain special permission to drill deeper into the earth to pull the freshest, most mineral-rich water possible. We are talking pure, high-mineral water, that helps the enzymes in our mash break starch down into simple sugars and affects both the fermentation and flavor of spirits. This water has the added benefit of being iron-free, and is a huge part of why our finished spirits have such a clean, crisp character. Our water source plays a major role in the viscosity and flavor of our bourbon, from the mash used in production to the amount added when it’s bottled. 

We Are Colorado Proud

Branch & Barrel is distilled, aged and bottled right here in Colorado and chooses to use only Colorado ingredients in the production of our spirits. From local honey producers, local coffee roasters, to Colorado grains and water, Branch & Barrel partners with local businesses exclusively and never adds any artificial colors or flavors! We love what we do and we cherish the support we receive locally from the craft spirits community. Without your help, no Colorado distillery could accomplish what we do, so please know how much it means to us. As long as you continue to sip our beloved Colorado whiskey, we will continue to explore its limits!

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