I've recently reviewed a number of whiskeys distilled at Lawrenceburg Distillers Indiana (LDI), and a few people have asked how I know the whiskey is made by LDI. Well, it's easy to figure out. First, though, some background.
LDI is a large Indiana distillery that was formerly owned by Seagram's. It is currently owned by Angostura but is in the process of being sold to a Midwest Grain Products (MGP), a large Midwestern maker of neutral spirits.
Located in Indiana just over the river from Kentucky, LDI is the only major whiskey distillery in the US that does not market anything under its own label. They operate entirely by contract. Companies pay to buy their whiskey (or vodka or gin) and market it under their own labels. The LDI website lists the different whiskeys they make, including mashbills.
Not long ago, it was not possible for a US consumer to buy an LDI-made whiskey. The closest you could come was Seagram's 7, a blended whiskey whose component whiskey was said to be made at LDI, but blended whiskey is mostly vodka and mostly crappy. Then, just a few years ago, small bottlers Templeton Rye and High West Rye put out some LDI rye (in High West's case it was part of a blend with another rye) to great acclaim. This opened an LDI floodgate and now there are a dozen or so bourbons and rye whiskeys that are made at LDI, and it seems like a new one comes out almost every day. Among the more well known are Redemption Bourbon, Redemption Rye, Bulleit Rye, Temptation Bourbon, the new series of Willett three year old ryes, W.H. Harrison Bourbon, Big Bottom Bourbon, High Whiskey, Riverboat Rye and Smooth Ambler's Old Scout Bourbon.
From time to time, people ask me how I know that a given whiskey is made at LDI, since that fact is almost never disclosed on the bottle and often not disclosed at all by the bottler.
There are lots of clues you can look for to figure out an LDI whiskey. When a new sourced whiskey is announced, the press release will usually brag about its heritage. If it's from Kentucky, they will usually say so since there is cache in releasing a real Kentucky bourbon or rye. So if Kentucky isn't mentioned in the press release, I usually assume LDI (and be aware of general staements like "bourbon country" which can include Indiana).
But the proof is on the bottle. The federal regulations of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) require that whiskey labels disclose the state where the whiskey was distilled. If the whiskey is distilled in the state where the company is located, then the address of the company is sufficient to comply with this requirement. However, if the business address is not in the state where the whiskey was distilled, the state has to be stated separately on the label. (There are some limited exceptions to this regulation, but it applies to most whiskey). See 27 CFR § 5.36(d).
LDI is the only whiskey distillery in Indiana, so if the bottle says "Product of Indiana" or doesn't state where it was distilled but the business address is in Indiana, then you know it was made at LDI.