Empire Rye

The Whisky Style of New York State

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Standard of Identity

Only a whiskey made according to the precise standards agreed upon by the Empire Rye Whiskey Association may be called Empire Rye and bear the mark on its bottle.


-Must conform to the New York Farm Distiller (Class D) requirement that 75% of the mash bill be New York grain; in this instance that 75% MUST be New York State-grown rye grain, which may be raw, malted or a combination. 

-The remaining 25% of the mash bill may be composed of any raw or malted grain, New York-grown or otherwise, or any combination thereof.

-Distilled to no more than 160 proof

 -Aged for a minimum of two years in charred, new oak barrels at not more than 115 proof at time of entry.

-Must be mashed, fermented, distilled, barreled and aged at a single New York State distillery in a single distilling season (The period from January 1 through June 30, is the spring season and the period from July 1 through December 31 is the fall season.)

-A blended whisky containing no less than 100% qualifying Empire Rye whiskies from multiple distilleries may be called Blended Empire Rye.


+ How do I know if a whiskey is Empire Rye?

Any bottle of Empire Rye will carry the certification mark either as a small label on the bottle or incorporated into the primary label. If it doesn't have the mark, it ain't Empire Rye. Simple as that!

+ Is Empire Rye regulated by New York State or the federal government?

At this time Empire Rye is a collaborative project of individual whiskey distilleries throughout the State of New York. The Empire Rye Whiskey Association hold trademark of the Empire Rye name and certification mark.

+ Who can make Empire Rye?

Any licenced distillery within the State of New York producing a whiskey that meets the Empire Rye criteria may request use of the name and mark.