The untold history of black bourbon

“The bourbon world is dominated by middle-aged white dudes with moustaches,” Ramos said. “Bourbon is not something we really associate with black people.” Ramos jokes that he sometimes witnesses shock in a bartender’s face when he orders bourbon instead of cognac.

Bourbon is a type of whiskey made in the US that must comprise 51% corn (or more) and must be aged in new charred oak barrels. One of the reasons  cognac is associated with African Americans is because cognac producers in the 1950s made a concerted effort to target their advertising dollars to black publications like  Ebony and  Jet. “They let the market know that they wanted their business,” said Shannon Healy, owner of Alley Twenty Six, a James Beard-nominated bar in Durham.

Each Wednesday, Healy hosts Whiskey Wednesday at his bar. They pour expensive, lesser-known whiskeys at break-even prices, aiming to educate their customers in a city where the black and white populations are both near 50%. Ramos has a residence at Alley Twenty Six one Wednesday each month where he educates customers on the whiskeys being poured that night. “If we see someone doing something in the community whom we can support, we do it,” said Healy of Ramos. “What Che brings in is a more obvious opening line as how to communicate [the story of black contributions to American whiskey]. And it helps us to show to our market that bourbon is for black folks, too… even though many companies are not focusing on selling it to them.”

Published by charlesghose

Charles Ghose graduated the University Of Greenwich London with a BA in Communications and Media. His university life was very enriched by his very active participation in various University societies. Charles ran the gamut of campus student communities; he was involved with the Politics and Debate Societies, Students Union, and University Of Greenwich Choir, and chamber choir. Charles Ghose acts as an independent contractor working in the very lucrative Freelance Translator Field. He has been hired by various International Humanitarian NGO's, private corporations, and The Overseas Fellowship Mission. Charles has also lead workshops for employers on the theme of mindfulness training courses for the improvement of employee’s health and well-being. Charles is a strong believer that a happy work force adds to higher productivity and loyalty to a company by employees.

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