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What Is MGP Bourbon? Answered (2024 Best Edition)

what is mgp bourbon

Ask any bourbon enthusiast, and they’ll probably roll their eyes, scoff, or worse, get angry at any mention of MGP bourbon. You might even hear them passionately exclaim that it’s not “real” bourbon. 

But what exactly is MGP bourbon, and why does it have such a bad rap in the industry? We’ll answer that question (and more) in today’s article. 

What Is MGP Bourbon Means 

MGP Bourbon

MGP bourbon stands for Midwest Grain Products, an industry term used to describe mass-produced bourbon in Lawrenceburg, Indiana.

This distillery produces spirits for private labels to sell. It is said that the location distills most of the bourbon and rye whiskey available on the US market. 

These mass-produced bourbons are then bottled and sold as the brands’ own. About 50 different “craft” distilleries and bottling companies source their spirits from the Indiana-based distillery, with Diageo being its biggest customer today. 

Of course, mass-produced bourbon doesn’t necessarily mean it’s garbage, and “craft” brands and distilleries don’t often have the experience to distill spirits properly.

They also lack the funds to source quality ingredients and equipment, so they turn to MGP brands

3 Primary Avenues For Procuring Sourced MGPs

3 Primary Avenues For Procuring Sourced MGPs


1. Bulk Whiskey Buying

Under the bulk whiskey buying arrangement, the company or brand purchases ready-made whiskey or bourbon in bulk and simply adds their unique bottle and label. 

This arrangement is probably what gripes hardcore bourbon enthusiasts. 

2. Contract Distillation

MGP Bourbon Distillation Process

This arrangement follows the buyer’s specifications on how the whiskey will be produced. This encompasses anywhere from the age of the spirit and the mash bill used. 

3. Sourced Bourbon Blends

Some companies and brands blend their in-house bourbon with another sourced bourbon from MGP.

This process is extremely helpful to small distilleries who want to extend their small batches while still maintaining consistent quality. 

Key Facts 

Key Facts 


MGP-style bourbon distilleries weren’t in play until the United States had a means of transportation effective enough to deliver the batches of spirits.

Back when MGPs were virtually unheard of, the spirits in the country came directly from the person who distilled them. In the case of retailers, they got the supply in bulk from the distilleries themselves. 

The MGP distillery in Indiana was established in 1847 and was bought by Seagram in 1933. 

Production Process

MGP Bourbon Production Process

If you see the words “Distilled in Indiana” printed on the label of a bourbon bottle, this is a clear indication that the spirit had been sourced from MGP, even though the brand did not specifically disclose it. 

MGP can provide the yeast, grain, and barrels to make the spirit, or the client can bring their own.

The distillery will then ship the barrels to the customer to age, dump and ship the juice itself, or dump and blend the juices. [1

Mash Bills

Mash bill Ingredients

MGP carries various mash bills (more than a dozen) to cater to what the brand is looking for. 

Do you want a robust mash bill made from 60 percent corn, 36 percent rye, and 4 percent malted barley?

How about a smoother mash bill made from 75 percent corn, 21 percent rye, and 4 percent malted barley? 

The distillery’s most popular mash bill is the rye-heavy formula, with a whopping 95 percent. It is said that Bulleit Bourbon uses this mash bill

Distilleries That Buy MGP 

Distilleries That Buy MGP 
  • Diageo 
  • Bardstown 
  • Bull Run 
  • Barrel Craft 
  • Litchfield 
  • Underdog 
  • Cadee 
  • George Dickel 
  • Prohibition Spirits 
  • James E. Pepper 
  • Temperance 

Why Other Distilleries Opt For MGP

Many craft distilleries opt for MGP because it is a quick and failsafe option.

Distilleries or businesses that have just opened will need a product to sell to make money while waiting for their own batches to mature. Sourced spirits like MGP bourbon will be able to fill that gap. 

FAQs Related to What Is MGP Bourbon

Is MGP now called “Ross & Squibb Distillery?”

As of my last update, there is no verifiable information indicating that MGP, commonly known as Midwest Grain Products, has undergone a rebranding to “Ross & Squibb Distillery.” MGP remains recognized within the distillery industry for its commitment to producing high-quality spirits, including bourbon, rye whiskey, and gin, among others.

However, it’s advisable to consult reliable sources for any recent developments or changes within the industry, as the landscape can evolve over time. Staying informed ensures accuracy when discussing the identities and operations of distilleries.

Is it important to know the bourbon you drink is MGP?

Understanding whether a bourbon is sourced from MGP can hold significance for various enthusiasts and connoisseurs. For many, MGP has garnered acclaim for its reputation in crafting exceptional spirits, and its Lawrenceburg, Indiana distillery is a preferred supplier for numerous brands seeking quality whiskey.

Awareness of a bourbon’s MGP sourcing can offer insights into its flavor profile, production methods, and overall caliber.

Moreover, for consumers valuing transparency and authenticity in their selections, knowing the origin of the bourbon they enjoy can be pivotal in making informed choices.

Thus, acknowledging the MGP distinction can contribute to a richer appreciation of the bourbon landscape and enhance the consumer’s understanding of their preferred libations.

What sets MGP Bourbon apart from other Bourbons?

MGP Bourbon distinguishes itself in several ways:
Quality Control: MGP is known for its stringent quality control measures throughout the production process, ensuring that only the finest ingredients are used and that each batch meets their high standards for flavor and consistency.

High Rye Mash Bills: MGP is renowned for its high rye mash bills, which contribute to the distinct spicy and robust flavor profiles found in many of their bourbons and rye whiskies. This emphasis on rye adds complexity and depth to the spirits, appealing to those who enjoy bold and flavorful whiskeys.

Versatility: MGP produces a wide range of bourbon and whiskey styles, catering to various tastes and preferences. Whether it’s a traditional bourbon, a rye-forward whiskey, or an experimental blend, MGP offers versatility and innovation in its spirit portfolio.

Transparency: MGP is transparent about its sourcing agreements and provides detailed information about the spirits it produces. This transparency fosters trust and confidence among consumers who appreciate knowing the origin and quality of the whiskey they’re enjoying.

Overall, MGP Bourbon stands out for its commitment to quality, craftsmanship, and innovation, making it a respected player in the bourbon industry.

Can you name some brands that source Bourbon from MGP?

There is a wide array of brands in the whiskey market that source their bourbon from MGP, leveraging the distillery’s esteemed reputation for quality and expertise. Among these notable brands are Bulleit Bourbon, celebrated for its impeccably smooth and subtly spicy flavor profile, and George Dickel, renowned for its remarkably mellow and approachable character.

High West Distillery is another prominent name that relies on MGP bourbon as a foundational element for its innovative blends, while Smooth Ambler’s Old Scout line showcases MGP’s high rye mash bill with its rich and intricately layered expressions.

Additionally, Belle Meade Bourbon, Redemption Whiskey, and Boone County Distilling Co. are just a few more examples of brands that depend on MGP’s mastery in distillation to craft bourbons distinguished by their distinct flavor profiles and unwavering quality standards.

What Is the Mash Bill Typically Used for MGP Bourbon?

MGP’s bourbon mash bill is renowned for its carefully calibrated composition, typically comprising 75% corn, 21% rye, and 4% malted barley. This meticulously crafted blend of grains, with its notably high rye content, serves as the cornerstone of MGP bourbon’s characteristically bold and robust flavor profile, which has garnered widespread acclaim among whiskey aficionados.

Through a combination of time-honored techniques and cutting-edge distillation practices, MGP ensures that each batch of bourbon embodies the rich heritage and enduring allure of this quintessentially American spirit.

By adhering to strict quality standards and emphasizing the use of premium ingredients, MGP consistently produces bourbons that exemplify excellence and elevate the whiskey-drinking experience to new heights.

Is MGP Bourbon considered craft Bourbon?

Whether MGP Bourbon is considered craft bourbon can be a subject of debate within the whiskey community. While MGP produces bourbon using traditional methods and high-quality ingredients, the term “craft bourbon” often carries connotations of small-scale production, independent ownership, and hands-on craftsmanship. MGP is a large-scale distillery that produces spirits for a variety of brands, both large and small.

While some may argue that MGP bourbon lacks the artisanal, small-batch characteristics associated with craft distilling, others appreciate its consistency, quality, and adherence to traditional bourbon-making practices. Ultimately, whether MGP Bourbon is considered craft bourbon may depend on individual definitions and perspectives within the whiskey community.

Key Takeaways

Personally speaking, we don’t think MGP bourbons are all that bad.

After all, startup brands and distilleries often need time to mature their mash bills, and they need to be able to sell something in the meantime to make sure the business stays afloat. MGP bourbons can help fill that gap. 

Furthermore, small distilleries and businesses often don’t have the knowledge and resources to distill spirits effectively.

The MGP distillery is well-versed in the intricacies of bourbon making, and they can make just as great a product as other brands already in the business.  


  1. Unique Whiskey Blends That Defy Tradition
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