Tradition and Innovation: Soy Sauce and Bourbon

This past June, the World Affairs Council brought Japanese producers, agricultural leaders, and restaurant owners to Bourbon Barrel Foods. Though having guests is always a joy, having innovators from the country of soy sauce’s origin is especially an occasion.


There are roughly 15,000 soy sauce microbreweries in Japan, but Bourbon Barrel Foods is the only soy sauce microbrewery in the U.S. More or less, soy sauce is to Japan as bourbon is to Kentucky, but on an even larger scale.

Our guests walked through the processes of making Bluegrass Soy Sauce,

tasted freshly pressed Bluegrass Soy Sauce from our one-of-a-kind press,

, enjoyed Bourbon Smoked Paprika Popcorn, and compared Bluegrass Soy Sauce with Japanese microbrewed soy sauces.

The tour confirmed a few things: locally sourced ingredients and artisan care are internationally appreciate standards, the microbrewed bourbon and soy industries are parallels in their respective markets, and a blonde guy making soy sauce in Kentucky is still a novelty.