Did you know that technically, whiskey begins its life as a beer? Before the aging process, whiskey liquor begins as water, yeasts and malts. While there are so many different factors that contribute to the creation of varying whiskeys, one thing can be said is that whiskey is a timeless, classic style of liquor!

From spiced bourbons and rye to sweet Irish whiskeys, the location of origin isn’t the only difference between American and Irish whiskey. Here at Brindiamo Group, we’ve compiled a list of the main differences between these two styles of whiskey. To help you make the most educated buying decisions when it comes to your liquor, keep reading,

Here’s what you need to know about the differences between Irish whiskey and American whiskey:

  • American or Regular Whiskey

  • Irish Whiskey

  • Brindiamo Group Helps Businesses Source the Right Amount of Liquor

American or Regular Whiskey

To be considered as an American or regular whiskey, these beverages must be distilled from a fermented mash of cereal grain, and produced in the United States. American whiskies are made from mashes with at least 51% of their named grains.

With that in mind, whiskey can be cultivated through a wide variety of flavoring techniques, distilling processes, and aging methods, unlike many other spirits and liquors. There are five main types of American distilled whiskey.

These tend to include:

  • Bourbon

  • Rye

  • Rye Malt

  • Standard Malt

  • Wheat Whiskey

  • Tennessee Whiskey

On top of the typical American Whiskey type distinctions, each type can come in an array of blends. These tastes of these blends tend to differ based on the varying types of barrels utilized in the aging process. To understand more of the specifics involved in cultivating American whiskey, let’s take a look at the regulations required for both bourbon and rye casing.


While most people think of Kentucky and its famous Bourbon Trail when they think of bourbon, bourbon whiskey can be produced anywhere in the United States.

In order for a whiskey to be considered bourbon it must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Distilled in the United States

  • Made from a 51% corn grain mixture

  • Aged in new, charred oak barrels

  • Mash must be distilled to no more than 160 proof, or less

  • Distillate must be stored in charred new oak barrels at no more than 125 proof, or less

  • Bottled at only 80 proof or more

In light of this, there are two primary components that contribute to the taste of bourbon. During aging, the charred oak barrels give bourbon its color and unique flavors and aromas because they interact with the corn in the mashbill. On top of this, bourbon is the only type of American whiskey that is required to be aged in new barrels.


American rye follows the same legal requirements listed for bourbon and other types of American whiskies. While rye itself is a grass grain, closely related to wheat, this type of regular whiskey provides the beverage with a much more dry, spicy flavor profile.

While the mash for bourbon often peaks at around 70% corn in traditional whiskeys, it is not uncommon to find rye whiskies that use a mash bill of 90% rye or more. With varied distilling processes, American whiskies are able to provide a variety of flavor palates, while still following the same basic distilling guidelines to be considered an American Whiskey.

Visit Brindiamo Group to learn more about our liquid sourcing solutions!

Irish Whiskey

When it comes to the origin of the term whiskey, we can trace it back all the way to the Gaelic term Uisce Beatha, meaning “water of life”.

Much like its American child liquor, Irish whiskey requires distilling stipulations such as:

  • Must be distilled and aged in Ireland

  • Aged in wooden barrels for a minimum of 3 years

  • Distilled to 89.6 proof

  • Bottled at no less than 80 proof

In addition, there are practices that are not legally required but are considered industry standards when it comes to distilling Irish whiskey. When it comes to Irish whiskey, malted barley is typically used for the mash and tends to be distilled three separate times. With a smooth distinct taste, these types of whiskey are often described as “light” and “fruity” when compared to American whiskies.

Often, Irish whiskey tends to be drunk straight, while American whiskies are better reserved for cocktails. However, as with all things alcohol, this is purely a matter of preference. While the differences between Irish and American whiskies stretch beyond the country of origin, the flavors created in both distilling processes can provide classic takes on whiskey.

Brindiamo Group Helps Businesses Source the Right Amount of Liquor

At Brindiamo Group, each one of our team members comes from an entrepreneurial background, and have lifetimes of experience solving distillery problems. Logistics and sourcing are major challenges for any product-driven business and those operating in the adult beverage industry are no exception.

Nobody knows this better than we do. Each one of our team members comes from an entrepreneurial background, and have lifetimes of experience solving these very problems. Why waste precious time and energy on sourcing when we could pick up the phone and set you up with one of our trusted industry partners in a matter of hours?

At Brindiamo, we are proud to provide comprehensive sourcing solutions to our clients. Finding alcohol distillers for your startup can become overwhelming to manage at first.

Visit the Brindiamo Group to see how we can help you today.