If you’ve ever wanted to know how many calories you’re consuming with each shot of whiskey, Jim Beam Distillery is leading the charge in transparency. If you’ve never wanted to know, stop reading now. OK, you’ve been warned. Let’s dig in.
Over the course of the past few months during Sip Outsider Whiskey Reviews, I noticed many Jim Beam Distillery brands—Jim Beam Bourbon, Knob Creek, Old Tub, and Old Grand-Dad—featured an abbreviated “Nutrition Facts” label on the bottle that included calories, carbs, protein, and fat.
Why is this odd? I’m glad you asked. I have never seen “calories” listed on any other bourbon brands. And I didn’t see it from Jim Beam in the past. I’ve seen “calories” listed on a couple of Scotch Whiskeys (of course, from Scotland), but not bourbons, which are American by definition.
Nutrition Facts Are ‘Optional’ on Alcohol
In 1994, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made Nutrition Facts labels required for the food and beverages it governs. That’s why you see the label on everything from a Snickers to a Coke. However, the regulation of alcohol is not governed by the FDA. After Prohibition ended in 1933, alcohol was placed under the governance of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), which doesn’t require Nutrition Facts labels. The TTB made the labels “optional” in 2013 (but weren’t they always optional?).
So, kudos to Jim Beam Distillery for its transparency, at least when it comes to calories.
Below, take a look at the label featured on a bottle of Knob Creek 9-Year Bourbon Whiskey (100 proof). As you can see, the label notes 122 calories per 1.5 oz., while carbs, protein, and fat registered 0.
Both Old Tub (100 proof) and Old Grand-Dad Bonded (100 proof) feature labels that are identical (122 calories) to the pictured Knob Creek label. However, I saw a Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (80 proof) label that noted 97 calories.
I’ll keep my eye on the dozen or so other brands from the Jim Beam Distillery in Clermont, KY, including Basil Hayden, Baker’s, Booker’s, Old Overholt, and more.
I reached out to Jim Beam Distillery for comment. And I’ll let you know when/if I hear back from them.