Louisiana Among Top 3 Bourbon Loving States

Fact Checked by Nate Hamilton

Cocktail culture is thriving across the country. In 2022, for the first time ever, Americans spent more on spirits than they did on wine, beer, or any other alcoholic beverage (https://www.distilledspirits.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/FINAL-2022-AEB-Slide-Deck-2.9.23-941am.pdf).

Among the big winners in all this are surely the distillers of America’s native spirit — bourbon. 

A whisky made with a grain mash consisting of at least 51% corn, and aged in charred oak barrels, bourbon is most closely associated with Kentucky — and brands like Jim Beam and Wild Turkey — but a wave of craft distilleries has spread across the country, expanding the palate of bourbon-lovers nationwide.

So where does Louisiana stack up in terms of its love for bourbon in comparison to Kentucky and the rest of the fifty American states?

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Which States Love Bourbon Most?

Using Google Trends to determine which states have had the most Google searches for “bourbon” since 2021, and Statista.com’s research on the weekly consumption patterns of straight bourbon per capita in each state, we ranked the top Bourbon-loving states below.

Overall Rank State Rank Per Capita Consumption Rank Per Google Trends Total
9North Carolina344276
T14South Carolina204363
15New Mexico362561

The Bayou state comes in at number three in the overall ranking, but it’s worth noting that it accounts for the second-most “bourbon” Google searches.

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Louisiana's History With Bourbon

The spirit is unquestionably a major part of Louisana’s culture and history.

In fact, one bourbon historian even argues the drink’s name originated in New Orleans. In his book “Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage,” Michael Veach suggests bourbon’s name didn’t originate from Bourbon County, KY as many believe — but rather Bourbon St. in downtown New Orleans. In the 19th century, before it was ever called bourbon, businessmen began bringing Kentucky whiskey, aged in charred barrels, down to New Orleans. The drink appealed to the city’s French colonizers who were thirsty for a taste Cognac — a French spirit also distilled in charred barrels.

Although that story is just a theory — no one knows precisely where the name bourbon originated — bourbon’s popularity in Louisiana is unquestionably connected to the state’s role in storing and distributing millions of barrels of bourbon, shipped down the Mississippi, and exported through the port of New Orleans.

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Jeff Parker is an entertainment writer for LouisianaBets.com. A writer for film, television and the internet, Jeff is a life long movie buff, with a Masters Degree in Popular Culture. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he works full time as documentary filmmaker and producer.

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