I'm a Kentuckian, born and bred, so maybe this story is overdue. I like the occasional sip of good bourbon, but "occasional" is my limit.

You see, any sort of brown liquor, I've now discovered, gives me a gout flare-up like nobody's business, so I avoid it as much as possible. (Rye whiskey is the absolute worst; I can't even LOOK at the stuff without my toe warning me.)

But that doesn't mean bourbon shouldn't be the official beverage of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Yes, I know there are those who do not drink alcohol of any kind and might object to a spirit having such a designation, but I have my own notion of why something should be the official "fill in the category" of any state.

It's because it should be practically unique to that state--if something can BE "practically" unique.

Of course, that doesn't explain the cardinal, the official bird of no less than SEVEN states, but I'm gonna go with that being a living creature so it gets away with it.

I turned to KyBourbon.com for a little back-up and it was equal to the task. According to the website, bourbon was invented in the Bluegrass State. In fact, and not surprisingly, 95% of the world's supply comes from our humble little plot of land right here in the midsouth (or whatever region in which Kentucky falls; I'm never sure).

Bourbon is also an $8.6 billion dollar Kentucky industry with a workforce of more than 20,000. And let's not forget...one of the planet's most highly-renowned sporting events--the Kentucky Derby--wouldn't be complete without the mint julep (bourbon, mint, and sugar syrup).

The Bourbon Trail is a huge tourist attraction and you can't travel Interstates 71 or 64 without seeing sign after sign alerting motorists to the presence of an enormous distillery.

When I was a kid watching the hit TV drama Dallas with my family, and J.R. Ewing would order bourbon, it didn't occur to me he had Kentucky to thank for his drink of choice.

For all intents and purposes, bourbon IS unique to Kentucky. If it's distilled elsewhere, it needs to be called "whiskey."

So, yes, I say bourbon should be Kentucky's official beverage for all the reasons I've mentioned and, likely, some I haven't.

Iced tea? That belongs to the ENTIRE southern U.S.

Coca-Cola or Pepsi? That belongs to the ENTIRE world.

Bourbon IS Kentucky.

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