There Are GMO’s In My WHAT?!?

  • The one easy way to discover if you’re guzzling down GMO’s this Friday night.
  • Yup, GMOs have ruined a uniquely American pastime!
  • Buffalo country reveals a solution… 8 years in the making.

Dear Reader,

As you probably know by now — especially if you’re a longtime Living Well Daily reader — GMOs are lurking in just about every crevasse of our food supply.

It’s a bit of a struggle to look at a food label these days and not find either corn or soy listed as one of the main ingredients.

And it’s even more rare to find the GMO-free label on the same package. This means the corn or soy in your unlabeled food is GMO.

But what if I told you there is yet another way GMOs are sneaking into your body — a way that has nothing to do with food…

In fact, for about 87 percent of Americans over the age of 18, GMO grains have likely already taken this sneaky route into your body.1

So what is this mysterious source of GMO poison?

Well, it may be served over ice in a tumbler near you.

It’s liquor.

That’s right, in the case of GMOs, when you booze, you really do lose — your health.

And even though some folks, including some of the world’s biggest whiskey makers, believe that the distillation process will destroy any GM DNA in the corn, there is still no real proof of this.2

But wait — what happens to all of the pesticides GM corn is drenched in? You know, the pesticides that lead to stomach issues and even cancer?

Well, there is no proof distillation can get rid of them, either.

So any way you pour it, drinking liquors made with GM products is a risky practice.

But the good news is there are companies out there producing your favorite spirits without the “help” of GMOs.

Fortunantly, Living Well Daily was able to get to the GMO-free inside story on one wildly popular liquor — bourbon.

In fact, we travelled to Frankfort, Kentucky, to get the scoop straight from the horse’s (in this case, I should say buffalo’s) mouth.

Buffalo Statue

Join us today as we take you on a tour of Buffalo Trace’s aging warehouse, tasting facility, and one of their newest projects. Also, I will have a chat (over a fine bourbon, of course) with Drew Mayville, master blender and director of quality for Buffalo Trace Bourbon, and Sazerac Amy Preske, public relations and media director for the company.

--Conscious Efforts

In addition to their dedication to remain GMO-free, they also source their corn from regional growers in Kentucky, Indiana, and southern Illinois.

And according to Mayville, the corn in this region is “the best corn probably on the planet.” He went on to explain, “I used to work in Canada making Canadian whisky. We got our corn from Manitoba, which was scrawny because of the climate. And anytime we got corn from Kentucky or around here, we would say, ‘Wow, this is really great-quality grain.’”

Corn Kernels

We’re certainly no corn expert, but we happened to be there during a delivery — the corn did look plump and healthy.

Not only do they use regionally sourced crops, Buffalo Trace uses only non-GMO corn in their mash. The interesting fact here is that they didn’t just switch to GMO-free corn. Instead, as Preske put it, “We made a conscious effort to remain GMO-free in this distillery.”

And since by definition bourbon is 51 percent corn and 85 percent of corn grown in the U.S. is genetically modified, this is both a valiant and costly effort.

Mayville sums this up well:

“It’s a lot more expensive. I’m sure every year we spend millions more just for GMO-free [corn]. But that is the decision we made as a company moving forward and thinking of the future. We are working and trying to solidify relationships with farmers, such that we’ll be set for the future.”

This plaque on a bottling building, which quotes Julian P. “Pappy” Van Winkle Sr.’s mantra, exemplifies the spirit of quality at Buffalo Trace.

With Buffalo Trace being home to over 18 different brands of liquor, including the elusive Pappy Van Winkle brand, it’s no wonder they’re trying to secure a solid source of GMO-free corn for the future. But their efforts don’t stop at buying GMO-free corn. They’re also growing it.

--Cheers to the Future!

Last year, Buffalo Trace took the “farm to bottle” initiative and planted 18 acres of corn. Presently, this corn is being dried out and should be fermented sometime in May or June of this year.

Buffalo Trace corn crop

Buffalo Trace’s first crop of corn. Photo credit: Buffalo Trace

And they have plans to grow more this year. Preske told me that they hoped to grow a black corn but were unable to locate any. Instead, they are growing an Aztec red corn — GMO-free, of course.

But don’t look to get your hands on these farm-to-bottle bourbons anytime soon. They will be aging for the next eight years — possibly in Buffalo Trace’s famous Warehouse X.

Warehouse X is a facility Buffalo Trace built to test out various outside-the-box bourbon ideas. In this facility, factors like humidity, temperature, and sunlight exposure can all be adjusted. From these experiments, Buffalo Trace is hoping to find the very best way to make bourbon.

Barrels

Barrels of experimental bourbon.

Preske and Mayville both indicate that Buffalo Trace has many plans for the future and that farm-to-bottle bourbon and Warehouse X are just parts of the whole picture in creating the best whiskey. Mayville explains:

We haven’t made the best whiskey yet. And we are working on it every day, trust me. Everything we do is an effort to make our products better. And the innovation piece is unparalleled to anything I have ever been involved with. The truth is we believe the whiskies of tomorrow haven’t been made yet. We are in the process of discovering them.

Drew Mayville

Drew Mayville giving us instruction on how to behave in the testing room.

The truth is they make some mighty fine whiskies right now. And luckily for me, I was able to sample just a few. See below:

Whiskey and Bourbon

Mayville had us try a wide variety of whiskies and bourbons in order to taste the subtle differences.

Bourbon Tasting

The Blanton’s tasting table at Buffalo Trace.

23 Year Old Bourbon

Yes, we actually got to try this.

Everything I tried was delicious.

You won’t find Buffalo Trace products with a GMO-free label. In fact, the only way I found out about them was through social media.

Unfortunately, for consumers, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, a division of the U.S. Treasury Department, is currently “reviewing our policy on the use of bioengineered food labeling statements or references on labels under our jurisdiction.”3

This update is from May 2014, so don’t hold your breath waiting for GMO-free-labelled bottles of booze.

Instead, check your favorite spirits website. Most have a FAQ page with this information, or reach out to their customer service to find an answer.

In the meantime, if you are interested in Buffalo Trace’s products, or just want more information about them, click here.

Live well,

Natalie Moore
Managing editor, Living Well Daily

Ed. Note: Please send your feedback: nmoore@lfb.org – and click here to like us on Facebook.


Sources

[1] Alcohol Facts and Statistics

[2] Bourbon of proof: Is Kentucky’s heritage spirit compromised by GMO corn?

[3] Alcohol FAQs

Natalie Moore

Written By Natalie Moore

Natalie Moore is a dedicated health researcher with a passion for finding healthy, natural, and science-based solutions. After a decade of direct healthcare experience in western and natural medicine, she was involved in public health research before joining Living Well Daily.

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