According to www.empirerye.com, in order to be labeled Empire Rye, a distillate must:
-Must conform to the New York Farm Distiller (Class D) requirement that 75% of the mash bill be New York grain; in this instance that 75% MUST be New York State-grown rye grain, which may be raw, malted or a combination.
-The remaining 25% of the mash bill may be composed of any raw or malted grain, New York-grown or otherwise, or any combination thereof.
-Distilled to no more than 160 proof
-Aged for a minimum of two years in charred, new oak barrels at not more than 115 proof at time of entry.
-Must be mashed, fermented, distilled, barreled and aged at a single New York State distillery.
-A blended whisky containing no less than 100% qualifying Empire Rye whiskies from multiple distilleries may be called Blended Empire Rye.