30 Days of Bourbon 2018 Edition Header

Join Us for the 2019 30 Days Of Bourbon Challenge

In Banter by Jeffrey Schwartz17 Comments

If it is September, it must be Bourbon Heritage Month. That must mean it is time for the fifth annual 30 Days of Bourbon Challenge!  Wait, what’s that? You’ve never heard of the 30 Days of Bourbon Challenge?  No problem, I’ll tell you all about it. 

For as many years as I’ve been into Bourbon, my bucket list includes going to the Bourbon Heritage Festival. But, as what has happened every single year, and what will happen again in 2019, is that it will remain unfilled on that list. However, five years ago, I set myself a goal to do something special to celebrate America’s Native Spirit. What I came up with was the 30 Days of Bourbon challenge:  30 different Bourbons in 30 days.

It initially started off with just me. In year two, my fellow contributors at Bourbon & Banter joined in. In year three, it went completely viral as we invited everyone to take part in the challenge. Last year, I added another component to the challenge.  I love that whiskey can be used for good in the world and added a call to donate at least $30 to a charity of your choosing at the end of the month.

The rules of the challenge are pretty simple:  This is a Bourbon challenge. No Ryes, no Scotch, no Irish, Japanese, Canadian or any other type of whiskey.  And, despite opinions to the contrary, I consider Tennessee Whiskey a Bourbon, so feel free to pour George or Jack if that’s your thing. (Editor's Note: Mr. Schwartz's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of his fellow Bourbon & Banter team members.) Cocktails count, too, as long as you identify the Bourbon used. 

You can drink something other than Bourbon, but they don’t count toward the goal of a different Bourbon each day. Here comes the tricky part that sometimes trips folks up:  What makes or doesn’t make a Bourbon different?

  • Proof: Old Grand-Dad 114 and Old Grand-Dad 80-proof is considered the same Bourbon. In theory, Old Grand-Dad Bottled in Bond would be different because of the stringent rules that apply to Bonded whiskeys.
  • Mashbills within a Brand: Four Roses has ten distinctly different recipes. Each one would be considered a different Bourbon. Moreover, their Small Batch is a blend of those recipes, and as such, that would count as well.
  • MGP: One thing that I’ve never before addressed in the rules is MGP. There is so much variety with what producers do with MGP distillate that different brands count as different Bourbons.  Dickel also provides Bourbon for many producers and the same rules would apply.
  • Blanton’s (and Single Barrel Bourbons): Different letters on the stoppers are not different Bourbons, sorry.  However, as it is a Single Barrel Bourbon and every Single Barrel is different, you can choose 30 different Elijah Craig Single Barrels and be set.

Tracking Calendar

Download and print the #30DaysofBourbon calendar to keep track of your progress.  Each day write down your bourbon and share a photo on Twitter/Instagram using #30DaysofBourbon and tag @BourbonBanter. 

2018 30 Days of Bourbon Calendar

Logo Overlays

Download and use our BHM19 logo overlays when sharing your progress online. Each file is a .png file which allows it to be used as an overlay on top of your photo. For those of you that have an iPhone we recommend using the Over app to create your final image with overlays.


Overlay Instructions: Click on one of these links: BHM Logo  |  B&B Logo. The image will open in a new browser tab/window. Then right-click on the image in the new tab/window and save image to your computer or phone. Please note that the images are shown in black on a white background for illustration purposes only. When downloaded, they will be in white with a transparent background allowing you to overlay them on a photo.

For each day of September, post on social media your Bourbon of the Day with the hashtags #30DaysofBourbon and #BourbonHeritageMonth and be sure to tag @BourbonBanter and any of us as well.

Some folks like me post a picture of the bottle. Others post their updated calendar. Either way is fine.  Also, feel free to give a shout-out to your favorite charity to whom you will donate your $30 (or more).

If you’re concerned that you can’t take part in the challenge because you don’t personally own 30 Bourbons, don’t let that be a barrier. Pool your friends together and share (Bourbon is meant to be shared between friends anyway). Visit a good whiskey bar. Support your neighborhood liquor store.

Finally, for those that would dismiss this as not a real challenge, history begs to differ.  I have a lot of friends who join me every year and life happens. You need to be aware of things in the month that might be distracting, particularly events that involve a special Bourbon. People get sick, or they go on trips. Invariably people drop out. The key is to remember this is supposed to be fun and not overly stressful. 

And, fun is the name of the game. Participants tend to comment how surprisingly difficult it was and how much fun they had. It is also nice to spread some joy to a charitable cause. 

Will you join us and help spread the Bourbon Gospel?  

About the Author
Jeffrey Schwartz

Jeffrey Schwartz

Facebook Twitter

Known throughout Wisconsin (and now the world) as Whiskeyfellow, Jeff was a late-bloomer to the Wonderful World of Whiskey. At the suggestion of his wife, he started with Scotch and was hooked. He was under the impression that he was happy. A friend asked him several times to try Bourbon, and he eventually gave in, only to fall completely in love with it. Those first steps started him on his #DrinkCurious adventure that led him to #RespectTheBottomShelf. Jeff now relishes many types of whiskeys, ranging from the super-affordable to the super-premium and everything in between. Aside from simply sipping and writing about it, Jeff now enjoys spreading the whiskey gospel by hosting educational tasting events. Read Jeff's full profile.


  1. Avatar

    B.e O.n an U.nbelievably R.eal B.arrel O.f N.irvana
    Can’t wait to see how this years calendar stacks up against last year.

  2. Avatar

    I’m not from the USA, I’m from Oshawa Ontario Canada and this will be my second year in the challenge I’m try to recruit friends to join I love the donation idea at the end

  3. Avatar

    I am participating for second year. Also encouraging members of my Bourbon group to also participate

  4. Avatar

    Can you try 2 or 3 in one day and still count for the 30/30? Im medical and several days each wek I’m on call so technically can’t drink those days?

  5. Avatar

    This will be my third year doing the #30daysofbourbon challenge. Two of my friends have joined me during the adventure. The challenge is also a bit of a celebration since I got divorced (ex-wife likely never would have allowed me to participate). I post all the bourbons I drink on Instagram (@johnlatini) and will be better about tagging this year!

  6. Avatar

    Another question on unique bourbons. Heaven Hill uses same mashbill for several products. Different items? Same with Weller bottlings.

    1. Avatar

      Terry, yes, you can have several from HH. While they spread the love over several mashbills, they’re aging them differently, etc. and they’re unique brands, so they count as different Bourbons.

  7. Avatar

    Thanks for the fun idea!!!
    BTW: saw the comment and glad we can double up on some days and take some days off

    Questions as September 1 is right around the corner…

    Regarding mashbill within a brand, proof differences, and aging differences.

    Take Jim Beam White and Jim Beam Black.
    Both have the same mashbill and they are different proofs, which would seem to indicate that they are really only counted as one.
    However, they are aged (and thus taste) different. How does that come into play? Different enough?

    Take OF and OF 1920
    Both made by Brown-Forman, have the same mashbill and they are different proofs, which would seem to indicate that they are really only counted as one. They are both NAS in this case. How does that come into play? Different enough?

    Take OGD 114 and Basil Hayden.
    Both made by Bean Suntory, have the same mashbill and they are different proofs, which would seem to indicate that they are really only counted as one. They are both NAS in this case. Similar to OF above, but are sold under different labels. How does that come into play? Different enough?

    Take BT and Eagle Rare 10.
    Both made by BT, have the same mashbill and proofs, which would seem to indicate that they are really only counted as one. However one is NAS and one is aged 10 years. How does that come into play? Different enough?

  8. Avatar

    Thanks for writing, Mike!

    Proof would not be a differentiator unless you’re talking Bottled in Bond and its non-Bonded label, and the reason you can get away with this is the “one distillation season by one distiller at a single distillery” rule.

    While Beam white and Beam black are the same mashbill, they are different Bourbons. Black is aged longer, as such, it is would have a different profile than JB white.

    BT and Eagle Rare are two distinctly different brands, same with Basil Hayden and OGD. Different labels count as different Bourbons.


  9. Avatar

    I can’t get the B&B overlay to download.. it’s just a blank page. The other one worked. Just me?

    1. Avatar

      Barbie, that happened to me. the image is white on a white background, so it is actually there. I was able to right click on the image (upper left on screen) and save it that way.
      Hope that helps you.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.