Which States Love Bourbon the Most?

Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

When you think of bourbon you may think of Kentucky or Tennessee, but BetCarolina.com’s research shows that when you look at states that love their bourbon, North Carolina is in the Top 10 – 9th to be exact.

Seventeen Twelve, distilled in Conover, calls itself the first grown, distilled and aged bourbon in North Carolina since prohibition — made from corn, rye and malted barley grown by North Carolina farmers.

But it’s far from the only bourbon distilled in Carolina, and others also make claims of firsts. 

Fainting Goats’ Bourbon, under the name Fisher’s, is distilled in Greensboro and claims to be the first-ever Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon made in North Carolina history. Old Nick Williams, established in 1768, hails from Lewisville. It’s still owned by the same family. Last year Seven Jars Distillery in Charlotte teamed with the Ava Gardner Trust to create the second edition of Ava Gardner select Bourbon Whiskey. Gardner and Frank Sinatra would approve.

And there’s more: Walton’s Distillery in Jacksonville makes a straight bourbon. Weldon Mills in Weldon produces four varieties. 

Bogue Sound offers up a bourbon under the name John A.P. Conoley. It’s not hard to guess where Olde Raleigh comes from. There’s also End of Days out of Wilmington and Statesville is home to Southern Star Paragon Bourbon, while Conviction Straight comes from the Southern Grace Distilleries in Mount Pleasant.

Sorry to those I’ve missed, but if you want to know more about North Carolina bourbon, check out the state’s Bourbon Society.

How The Rankings Shook Out

BetCarolina.com, your home to North Carolina sports betting, utilized Google Trends and Statista to develop the ranking of the states that love bourbon the most. We utilized Google Trends to get the states with the most bourbon searches since 2021. 

Statista.com was also used to see per capita consumption of straight bourbon whiskey per state since 2021. Once that information was complied, a point system was created giving up to 50 points for search rank and up to 50 for per capita consumption for each state. 

Bourbon Lovers Per State

Overall Rank State Rank Per Capita Consumption Rank Per Google Trends Total
9North Carolina344276
T14South Carolina204363
15New Mexico362561

What Makes North Carolina Unique

North Carolina also has Bourbon Lotteries in which limited bottles of bourbons, from outside the state, are apportioned around North Carolina by the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission. Bourbon lovers are allowed to register for the right to be some of the lucky few to buy these bourbons.

One of those is Pappy Van Winkle produced at the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky. Pappy is widely available around the country but in North Carolina, it’s as rare as a Duke fan in Chapel Hill.

The problem for North Carolinians is that when the state came out of prohibition, it became an alcoholic beverage control (ABC) state, so it has a state-wide governor-appointed body taking the spirit out of spirits. Below that are county and municipal ABC’s making their own decisions about whether liquor can be sold, and, if so, which ones.

It’s a classic political booze-doggle, and who suffers, but the citizens, who have their options severely limited. The ABC Commission also controls the amount of alcoholic beverage that can be produced in the state, which also limits supply.

Eliminating the ABC is one of the few issues that unites red and blue in North Carolina, but it seems so entrenched in the state’s political landscape, nothing has been done to change it. North Carolina voters may not be able to get their elected officials to accede to their wishes and loosen the state’s control over Bourbon and its spirited cousins, but it can’t stop folks from driving to South Carolina, Georgia, or Tennessee. 

Unfortunately for alcohol enthusiasts in the northern part of the state, Virginia has its own ABC system.  

We hope you enjoyed this research item, and keep a good bottle of whatever poison you prefer close for the forthcoming launch of North Carolina betting apps, when the time comes. Cheers.


Howard Gensler
Journalists / Reporter

Howard Gensler is a veteran journalist covering the North Carolina sports betting market for BetCarolina.com. Before his focus on US sports betting, Howard worked at the Philadelphia Daily News, TV Guide and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Howard is also a founding editor of bettorsinsider.com.

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