Early Times returning to the bourbon world

Photo by Bill Dowd
Early Times, once a major player in the bourbon industry, has been absent from that category for 28 years. That absence is in the process of being rectified.

The brand is returning to its bourbon roots, releasing Early Times 354 Bourbon to the market early this month in 17 markets. "354" is the original permit number for the Louisville, KY, distillery. The 80-proof (40% abv) bourbon will sell for $15.99 per 750ml bottle.

The distiller will continue to make and distribute its Early Times Kentucky Whisky as a companion product.

Brown-Forman, the drinks giant that has owned the label since 1923, changed Early Times, which had been the world’s best-selling bourbon in the 1950s, from a Kentucky bourbon to a Kentucky whisky in 1983. It got its name when its original maker, Jack Beam, built his own distillery at a place called Early Times Station in Kentucky.

"Early Times is the second oldest continually produced Kentucky whiskey on the market, second only to Brown-Forman’s Old Forester," said Chris Morris, master distiller for Brown-Forman.

The new bourbon comes in a retro design bottle similar to the 1930s Early Times bottle.

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