Corn in the U.S.A. – Do the USDA Numbers Mean Higher Bourbon Prices?


February 1, 2013 by Bourbon Empire

Last summer, some bourbon drinkers were hoarding bottles the way squirrels store acorns on news that a drought in the Midwest would affect corn prices and drive up the price of bourbon. Personally, I had visions of survivalists with underground bunkers pitching their other canned foods in order to make way for liquor.

The numbers are in, according to the Washington Post and Associated Press. The USDA reports that U.S. farmers harvested a little less than three quarters of the amount of corn they harvested last year.

But this doesn’t mean bourbon prices will necessarily go up in direct relation to these numbers. The cost of bourbon is affected by a host of other factors. While the shortage matters, feedstock prices aren’t always as big a part of bourbon prices as some people assume. Storage, taxes, and energy also play a large part. For many distillers, cost is often less a concern than supply or quality.

But, just in case, I started looking into rye crops, to get a sense of how the price of everybody’s other favorite American whiskey might be affected. It’s generally a hardier grain than corn…I’ll keep you posted.

One thought on “Corn in the U.S.A. – Do the USDA Numbers Mean Higher Bourbon Prices?

  1. […] and demand is a harsh mistress, but is government meddling disrupting the supply chain? This guy says “no,” and given the title of his blog I’m wont to believe him, but his point about rye is worth […]

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