The same week the U.S. delegation walks out of the Montreal climate change talks, this appears in my mailbox, via a copy of the winter 2006 issue of NRDC’s OnEarth magazine (story posted here):
A recent study conducted for the Commonwealth of Kentucky [says] global warming may soon make it impossible to produce good Kentucky bourbon.
— “A Little More Ice With Your Bourbon?” by Bruce Stutz
The gist of this state-funded study is that the 3-degree Fahrenheit average temperature increase predicted for Kentucky over the next century will affect the way bourbon “breathes” in the barrel during aging. In the heat of the summer, the whiskey expands into the charred oak barrel, absorbing color and flavor; in winter, the whiskey contracts, drawing this flavor into the spirit. With less variation between summer and winter temperatures, this report indicates, the proper maturation of Kentucky bourbon will be disrupted.
Take this as a warning, lushes of America–global warming is no longer just about melting ice caps, crop failure and the spread of disease: now, it’s messing with Pappy Van Winkle and Booker’s. Can the plague of locusts be far behind?