On today's National Bourbon Day (or any other day of the year) Kentuckians are the most likely to celebrate with a shot of whiskey. The birth state of bourbon whiskey has the highest per-capita consumption of bourbon in the U.S., with New Hampshire and Missouri following suit. The first bourbon in the United States was technically distilled in Virginia, where the legendary Bourbon County was located until Kentucky seceded from Virginia in 1972.
In colonial America, rum and gin were the most common spirits, but their ingredients had to be imported, which led to the use of rye and corn for distilling. In the beginning of the 19th century, methods like sour mash and oak cask aging were developed that to this day are some of the defining characteristics of bourbon.
Recently, less straight bourbon
has been exported from the U.S. as customers turned to flavored whiskey blends instead. Most of the exports of regular bourbon are headed for Spain, followed by Japan and Australia. If Americans chose to drink their whiskey themselves instead of exporting, they are most often drinking Jack Daniel's.