A bottle of Early Times
|Type||American whiskey (labelled as Bourbon in export markets, and as Kentucky Whisky within the U.S.)|
|Country of origin||Kentucky, United States|
|Alcohol by volume||40.00%|
|Related products||Woodford Reserve|
Early Times is a brand of Kentucky whiskey produced by the Brown-Forman Corporation. The whisky sold under this brand name outside the United States is labelled as bourbon, while most of the brand bottlings sold within the U.S. do not meet the qualifications for marketing as a bourbon and are labeled as "Kentucky whisky".Whiskey sold under this brand name was first distilled in 1860. During the prohibition of alcohol in the U.S., its manufacturer was one of only five whiskey producers that were exempt from the law, having been designated as producers of "medicinal whiskey".
|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (April 2012)|
The Early Times Whisky brand production started at a place called Early Times Station, Kentucky. The Kentucky water surrounding the "Station" was used for making the whiskey. The water naturally filtered through limestone springs which the company says makes it rich in minerals that add flavor and help with fermentation. Early Times was not very popular until 1920 when Congress passed the Volstead Act and Prohibition began. The brand prospered due to its maker having a license to continue its production.
The Brown-Forman Company acquired the Early Times brand in 1923, and over the next 30 years made Early Times the best-selling whisky in the country. Today it is sold in over 40 countries. It ranks as one of the top four selling bourbons in the world, and in 2005 it became the top selling Kentucky whisky in Japan.
Production and products
The brand is currently owned by Brown-Forman and is produced at the Brown-Forman Distillery in Shively, Kentucky. Most of the Early Times which is now sold in the U.S. is not legally a bourbon whiskey, and labeled as "Kentucky Whisky", because some of the spirit in Early Times is aged in used barrels, while bourbon must be aged in new barrels according to the legal requirements for bourbon. It is bottled at 40% alcohol by volume.
In December 2010, Brown-Forman introduced a new variation of the brand called Early Times 354 in the United States, which meets the requirements for a straight bourbon.
Starting in 1987, Brown-Forman established a contract agreement with Churchill Downs to market Early Times mint juleps as the "official drink" of the Kentucky Derby. Over 100,000 Early Times Mint Juleps are purchased at the race track in Louisville, Kentucky during Derby Week each year. However, the highest-priced mint juleps at the event use bourbon from the Brown-Forman sister brand Woodford Reserve, which is marketed as the "official bourbon" of the Kentucky Derby.