Goose Island Quietly Removed These Two Words From Their 2017 Bourbon County Stout Labels

In Beer News by Karl

Goose Island hid something in plain sight for us on this year’s BCBS labels.

From our five-year BCS vertical — 2006-2010 edition. Labels looked a little different back then, too.

The new round of Goose Island’s 2017 Bourbon County Brand Stout labels cleared the TTB recently, and this year’s batch has a little wrinkle that no one seems to have noticed — until now.

The labels for the 2017 release are missing two little words that have appeared on every other Bourbon County release since the 2009 version:

“Since 1992.” 

We’ve reached out to Goose Island for confirmation, but we believe this change to be prompted by Josh Noel’s reporting at the Chicago Tribune last October, where his research showed that Bourbon County Stout’s first brewing was almost certainly not in 1992 (as Goose Island has been claiming for years).

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RELATED: Check out the rest of our Bourbon County Stout stories and Goose Island coverage

Rather, as Noel wrote:

I’ve concluded that there’s almost no chance that Bourbon County Stout came into this world in 1992. Dozens of interviews and hours of research point to the first keg of Bourbon County Stout being tapped in 1995.

For comparison’s sake, let’s look back at last year’s Bourbon County Stout label:

…and the Bourbon County Stout label approved in 2015…

…and 2014, before they moved to the 500ml bottles:

And now, here are all of the BCS labels approved thus far by the TTB:

All of them — including two approved BCBS Coffee labels with different Intelligentsia beans — now feature the words “The Original” where “Since 1992” previously lived. This is the same on Goose’s keg labels as well.

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Again, we’ve reached out to Goose Island for comment on the change. We’ll update when we hear back.

Note that there’s no original Bourbon County Brand Stout label in that list. We’ve scoured the TTB site, and were unable to find an approved label for that particular varietal.

However, it certainly exists — you can see it featured in a photo in this blog post on the Goose Island site, announcing this year’s variants.

Interestingly, that 2017 label clearly references “The Original” even though the bottle they show in the blog post is still imprinted with the “Since 1992” language.

2017 Bourbon County Stout Labels

Is this a world-shaking revelation? Not really. Just a fun little detail that happened to catch our eye.

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But it is definitely an indication of one thing — that Goose Island seems to have quietly acquiesced to the idea that the story they’ve been telling about their game-changing stout didn’t quite add up.

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About the Author



Karl has written about food, travel and beer for Chicago Magazine, Thrillist, Time Out Chicago, AskMen and more. His book, Beer Lovers Chicago, is now available via Amazon and other booksellers. If you're buying, he's likely having a porter or a pale ale.

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