Characteristics of a Bourbon Enthusiast. Who are these Lovers of Bourbon?

Written by Peoples Bourbon Review Staff |

Bourbon, America’s native whiskey, has enjoyed a surge in popularity over the last few decades. Primarily a product of Kentucky, bourbon has become so popular that there are even undergraduate and graduate courses on the spirit. According to market research, bourbon accounts for at least 8% of the spirits volume in the United States. Additionally, over 13% of Americans are bourbon enthusiasts.

Bourbon drinkers are many things. They are unflinching, unique, passionate, complex, and free spirits.

Read on to find out more about the profile of bourbon enthusiasts and some of the traits and characteristics they share.

Profiling Bourbon Enthusiasts

As it turns out, Bourbon drinkers in the United States have a unique profile. According to the Simmons Market Research company:

  • 70% of bourbon enthusiasts are men, 30% are women
  • 57% of bourbon drinkers are married, 19% are divorced or widowed, and 24% have never married.
  • 73% of bourbon enthusiasts are aged 35 years and above
  • 48% of bourbon fans earn over $75,000 per year, 35% earn between $30,000 and $75,000, while only 17% earn below $30,000.
  • 33% of bourbon drinkers have a college degree, dropped out from graduate school, or gotten a graduate degree.
  • 30% of bourbon drinkers have some college education (but no degree), while 37% have some high school education or high school degree.

From these statistics, it is evident that bourbon enthusiasts are mostly middle-aged and older adults. Secondly, most bourbon enthusiasts are well-off. Lastly, bourbon enthusiasts comprise people with different levels of educational achievement.

Characteristics of Bourbon Lovers

People who have bourbon as their drink of choice often share some traits. They

They are old souls

Bourbon is a drink rooted in tradition. This American whiskey export traces its history back to the 18th century and strong links with the American South. In fact, Kentucky, the cradle of bourbon, still produces over 90% of all bourbon.

Unsurprisingly, bourbon drinkers are the firmest believers that old is gold. A bourbon enthusiast is most comfortable listening to old country music, classic blues, and swing music classics, among other oldies.

When it comes to reading, they are likely to pick up a Mark Twain, Charles Bukowski, and William Faulkner, among other legendary American writers.

Do not be surprised to find a bourbon enthusiast with a functioning stand-up record player in their house. Bourbon drinkers live in the present but are proudly enslaved to the past.

Of course, as with all things, the characteristics of a bourbon lover change as newer generations take up the enthusiast mantle. 

They are fiercely passionate.

Despite being sweeter than Scotch whiskey, bourbon whiskey still has a unique and delightful burn to it. In the same way that bourbon enthusiasts love the burn of this American whiskey, they burn with passion for everything they do in their life. They are never lukewarm.

Bourbon lovers know what they like and will defend their tastes and favorite bourbons.

Bourbon drinkers know exactly what they want and pursue their goals with everything they have. More importantly, bourbon enthusiasts prefer to do things in their own way, never copying others.

When drinking with others, bourbon lovers will dedicate their time and energy to having a good time and making everyone feel included.

They are loyal

True bourbon enthusiasts rarely drink any other type of alcoholic drink other than bourbon. Even within the bourbon world, enthusiasts may try out different brands every once but mostly give their allegiance to one bourbon brand or distillery.

The loyalty that bourbon enthusiasts have is not limited to their alcoholic drinks. On the contrary, it extends into their relationships with family, friends, co-workers, and drinking buddies. True bourbon lovers are honest and will never back-bite people in their circle. Just like they stick to bourbon, bourbon enthusiasts stick with the people they love no matter how rough the weather gets.

Types of Bourbon Enthusiasts

There are different levels of bourbon enthusiasm within the bourbon-loving community, with members of each level sharing certain stand-out mannerisms.

Old Timers

Old-timers are the veterans of bourbon enthusiasts. Having drunk bourbon for decades, these geezers know every nook and cranny of the bourbon world. Bourbon geezers are often members of American Whiskey societies, while others even sit on the boards of American bourbon makers. Old-timers know their way around mash bills and bourbon master distillers. Not to mention, these geezers love sharing exciting stories of memorable drinking escapades from years past.


These are bourbon enthusiasts who are just starting their journey in the bourbon world. In this group are people who still do not understand the difference between bourbon and other whiskeys. Most newbies still drink bourbon for the high rather than enjoy the complex flavors. They are likely to mix their bourbon with coke or another drink to soften the bite.


Members of this group are still relatively new to the bourbon world. While they have a better knowledge of the bourbon world, they succumb to the hype of certain bourbons and actually perpetuate the hype by avidly seeking over-hyped bourbons. Still, they know the basics, like most bourbon comes from Kentucky and which bourbons are in demand. Taters still have a minimal understanding of the differences between different brands but think of themselves as experts. Few drink bourbon neat, while most prefer adding ice cubes to their dram of bourbon. At this stage, these bourbon enthusiasts start building their own bourbon collections in their home bars.

Bourbon Connoisseurs

This group comprises bourbon enthusiasts who have been drinking whiskey for a couple of years. Some are proud members of bourbon groups on Facebook and other online forums. Connoisseurs are loyal to certain brands and prefer their whiskey neat at all times. Some experts also start taking part in bourbon hunts, looking for limited editions and allocated whiskeys. However, those who have been on the hunt long enough know that not every limited-edition bourbon lives up to the hype. Typically, these enthusiasts drink their bourbon neat.

At the end of the day, all bourbon enthusiasts share one thing in common, their undying and unfaltering love for a distinctly American whiskey.

Author: Peoples Bourbon Review Staff
The People's Bourbon Review - The ultimate Bourbon reviews and tasting notes by enthusiasts and the people.


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