The 9th Annual 30 Days of Bourbon Challenge Begins Soon! Here's What You Need to Know


Each September, for Bourbon Heritage Month, I host the 30 Days of Bourbon Challenge, and, believe it or not, this is the ninth year!


Hold on a moment; did I hear you correctly? Are you not familiar with the 30 Days of Bourbon Challenge? Don't worry, I can provide you with all the details.


For as many years as I’ve been into Bourbon, my bucket list includes attending the Bourbon Heritage Festival. But, what has happened every single year, and will happen again this September, is that it won't get checked off. However, nine years ago, I set a goal to do something special to celebrate America’s Native Spirit. I created the 30 Days of Bourbon challenge:  30 different Bourbons in 30 days. 


I know what you’re thinking… I drink Bourbon every day. What’s the big deal? There’s more to this challenge than simply drinking Bourbon daily. So much more. 


Some of us have a “daily drinker.” Others own many whiskeys (I would never suggest too many) but have forgotten about a bottle tucked away in the back. Part of this challenge has to do with exploration and adventure. 


I firmly believe in whiskey karma: Do good things in whiskey's name, and it will return you in kind. That leads to the second aspect of the 30 Days of Bourbon Challenge. 


For the last seven years, I’ve asked people to donate $30.00 (or more) to any charity they choose. Mine has always been the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Association (RSDSA) which helps people battling Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). Feel free to use them as your charity (I’d be eternally grateful as Mrs. Whiskeyfellow has been fighting it for too many years). 


The rules are pretty simple:  


Rule 1: This is a Bourbon challenge. That means Rye, American Single Malt, or other types of whiskey won’t count toward the daily goal. While there’s nothing wrong with you enjoying a sip of those non-Boubon whiskeys during the Challenge, remember, you’ll have to take a pour of actual Bourbon, too. 


Rule 2: Opinions notwithstanding, Tennessee Whisky is Bourbon, so feel free to pour Jack and George if you enjoy them. Have a cocktail; they count so long as you can identify the Bourbon used.


Rule 3: What does and what does not qualify as “different” Bourbons:


  • Proof:  If you’re looking at, say, Wild Turkey 101 and wondering if Wild Turkey 81 are different, for the sake of the Challenge, they aren’t. However, if you came across a Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon and a non-bonded brother, those would be different Bourbons because of the rules governing bonded whiskeys. 

  • Mashbills within a Brand:  Four Roses has ten distinctly different recipes. Each one would be considered a single Bourbon. Moreover, their Small Batch and Small Batch Select are blends of those recipes, and both count. Same with the Limited Editions.

  • MGP/Dickel/Barton:  I had to clarify this several years ago because many NPDs source from MGP. Dickel and Barton are power players, too. There is so much variety in what producers do with sourced distillate that different brands count as unique Bourbons. 

  • Blanton’s / Single Barrel Bourbons / Store Picks, Etc.:  You can try to collect all eight of the horsey stoppers, but they aren’t differentiators. However, if you find different barrels of Blanton’s (look on the label), you can make it your whole month if you’d like. Pro-Tip: If you aren’t finding Blanton’s on the shelf, ask the clerk at the liquor store if they have any in the back. They love hearing that!


For each day of September, post your Bourbon of the Day on social media with the hashtag #30DaysofBourbon. While you’re at it, tag @Whiskeyfellow, too. Some folks post a picture of the bottle, while others post their updated calendar. If you've got a different idea, go for it. Just be sure to give your charity a shout-out when you post! Awareness is vital to many charities, so don’t wait until the end; tag them daily.


Click here to download your free Challenge Calendar

Some people worry that because they don’t own enough Bourbon, they can’t participate. Enjoying Bourbon is all about sharing some with friends. If you do not have any friends, this could be an excellent opportunity to make some and bond over the love of Bourbon. Or, hit up your local watering hole and buy yourself a pour. You can visit a good liquor store and see what “airplane” bottles they have. Jim and Jack offer a variety of flavors. It's worth noting that there are no restrictions on flavored Bourbon.


Every year, without fail, people opine that this isn’t a real challenge. Eight years of history have proven otherwise. Life happens. People get sick. An unexpected trip pops out of nowhere. You may get invited to an event and completely forget. But, each year, people drop out for whatever reason. Don’t stress yourself out – this is supposed to be fun!


People who have successfully made it often express how challenging the process was, yet how satisfying it felt to complete. Additionally, contributing to a charitable cause and spreading happiness is genuinely superb. Remember Whiskey karma!


Will you join me on this challenge?  Cheers!



Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you to do so responsibly.


  1. Thank you for the calendar, I did this last year and loved it! My charity is the Lorain County Free Clinic

  2. Although I've resisted the urge to accept this challenge in the past, I think I might be up to it this year. Does the "Human Fund" count as a charity? Lol...Calendar downloaded. Let the planning and tasting begin!


Post a Comment

As we should drink in moderation, all comments are subject to it. Cheers!