Identifying the producer of your bourbon is often a challenge because our federal government does not require a clear designation on a bottle’s label. Most bourbon enthusiasts are familiar with two categories of bourbon producers, Distillers and Non-Distilling Producers (NDP), but few are familiar with the third. An emerging and rapidly growing type of producer is the Contract-Distilling Producer (CDP), and is a category that truly deserves our attention.

    • Distillers are producers that distill, age, package, and distribute their own products. From time to time, they might source products from other Distillers, but their primary product lines are produced in house, from start to finish.


    • Non-Distilling Producers (NDP) source their bourbon from a Distiller’s stock, meaning they buy their bourbon readymade. While they might age, blend and finish it to their own specs, they have no hand in mash bill, grain or barrel selection, essentially basic elements in making bourbon.


    • Contract-Distilling Producers (CDP) do things a bit different. A CDP is a producer that has a contractual arrangement with a Distiller to distill and barrel products to their specs. These specifications can include personal recipes, barrel requirements, and other elements that make the bourbon unique to the Contract Distiller. Once barreled, the Contract Distiller is responsible for aging, packaging, and distribution.


Rabbit Hole Distilling is operating as a CDP for their core products, Kentucky Straight Bourbon and Straight Rye Whiskeys. These products are being distilled and barreled under an agreement with a Distiller in Kentucky then aged, packaged, and distributed by Rabbit Hole.

Utilizing the CDP method, brands like Rabbit Hole that are building their own distilleries, will be able to have better quality control and consistency as they transition from contracted product to self-distilled product in the future.