The Imperial is the recently opened, down-the-street, cocktail-serving sister of Old Town Goleta’s craft beer mecca, the Mercury Lounge, and this Saturday hosts the first of what will hopefully become a series on spirits. The “Bottled-in-Bond Whiskey Tasting” will be led by UCSB-educated historian Paul Hirsch, and include tasting some of the only bottled-in-bond bourbons and rye whiskeys available.

Bottled-in-bond refers to the time at the turn of the 20th century when the federal government and Big Whiskey got together to stop small-time bar owners from making their own, often unsafe hooch. So a law was passed in 1897 that required bourbons and rye whiskeys be held in government warehouses for a four years, then cut to 50% alcohol (100 proof) or less, and then put into bottles (which was a new thing) and stamped with the government emblem before being sold.

Hirsch, who received his Ph.D. in history from UCSB and now consults on whiskey, will discuss the history and offer some tastes of relevant whiskeys. For more on him, see


The Imperial’s Bottled-in-Bond tasting with Paul Hirsch is Saturday, June 28, 3 p.m., and cost $50 (cash only).


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