After nearly three years of construction, USS KENTUCKY (SSBN-737) was ready to be launched on 11 August 1990. But the ceremony that sent her into the waters of the Thames River had a bit of a twist, as detailed in a 9 August article in the New London Day:
“When the christening bottle breaks over the Kentucky’s bow Saturday, the liquid dribbling on the outside of the newest Ohio class submarine will be a little darker than usual.
“But there will be nothing wrong with the christening liquid. Instead of champagne—it will be Kentucky bourbon.
“ ‘Last time I took a look, Kentucky wasn’t bottling much champagne,’ said U.S. Rep. Larry J. Hopkins, R-Kentucky, whose wife, Carolyn, will break a bottle of eight combined bourbons over the bow of the newest Ohio class submarine in a ceremony at Electric Boat shipyard….
“…This will be the first time bourbon has baptized a Navy ship. ‘As far as I know, we’ve always used champagne,” said EB spokesman Neil D. Ruenzel. ‘But we checked with the naval historical people and found that years ago a surface ship was christened with water.’
“The blend of bourbons is to be bottled in a ceremony today at the Holiday Inn—New London, by the 12 Kentuckians assigned to the ship.
“Eight Kentucky distilleries are combining their products….”
Although the day was rainy, the christening—complete with its alternative alcohol—went off without a hitch.